The Nassau Coliseum is seen from the roof of the...

The Nassau Coliseum is seen from the roof of the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale. (July 14, 2011) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

SMG, the company operating the county's Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, faces a total of $88,000 in proposed fines for asbestos, electrical, chemical and other hazards facing workers at the Coliseum, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"OSHA's Long Island area office opened an inspection in response to an employee complaint," a news release from the agency said. "Investigators found that maintenance workers and electricians were exposed to asbestos or materials potentially containing asbestos while working in various locations -- including the coliseum's ice plant, catwalks and a loading dock -- and that SMG did not take adequate steps to address the hazards."

The statement noted that these areas are not accessible to the public.

Tom Mulligan, a spokesman for SMG responded: "Nassau County, as owner of the Coliseum, is responsible for asbestos remediation, maintenance and capital improvements. SMG is committed to full compliance with occupational safety regulations and has always worked with the county to help make sure that the Coliseum remains safe for workers and patrons. While SMG is gratified that OSHA did not find any willful violations, we will be contesting the citation.

"We are pleased to report that the county has remediated the asbestos issues identified by OSHA [on Sept. 20], and it's been confirmed that the air in the Coliseum is safe."

County Attorney John Ciampoli said OSHA's findings are not taken lightly by the county, and that it "will continue to work with SMG to address these issues and protect employees. . . . The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is aging, [and] a new facility is needed and that is why County Executive [Edward] Mangano is seeking a master developer to build a new sports arena."

At the end of July, 81 Coliseum workers had filed notices of claim for asbestos injuries.

OSHA's release also said it had found "inadequately lighted exit routes, inoperable emergency lighting . . . [and] unsecured liquefied petroleum gas containers," among other problems.

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