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Clogged Air Filters Raise Coronavirus Alarm at 30 Wall Street

March 31, 2020

By Silver Krieger

A worker at 30 Wall Street shows the difference between a clean air filter and a dangerously dirty air filter.

New York, NY – A specialist in HVAC [Heating, Ventilation and AirConditioning] systems is raising the alarm about the lack of replacement air filters at 30 Wall Street – a glaring violation that he says is creating dangerous conditions for workers and tenants in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis.

Tauris McBride, owner of Tauris Tech, a company that specializes in employee training in HVAC, tells LaborPress that the building’s air filters have not been changed in years.

“[My] former students are pleading with building managers to buy new ones,” McBride says. “This could be a catastrophe on many different levels. Filters capture every cough and sneeze coming into the building. There is also no PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) provided for the workers.”

Adding to the dangers, engineers in the building whose job it is to service millions of dollars of equipment, have been recenlty fired after management hired a new subcontractor that didn’t want to pay union wages. IUOE Local 94 and 32BJ SEIU are calling on Colonnade Management to reverse the firings.

Lower standards are even more hazardous because the system is a pressured air system, which takes air from the outside and pushes it into the building, McBride says.

IUOE Local 94 and 32BJ SEIU

In the video seen here, McBride alleges 30 Wall Street’s filters are so covered with debris that they are completely white when they should be orange in color.

“In light of the virus, greater attention needs to be brought to safety issues,” he says.

Some buildings are reportedly now changing filters every three months, but, according to McBride, not 30 Wall Street.”

“This can’t be allowed to continues,” he says. “Most people are unaware about the situation, so likely nothing will be done” — even though there are agencies that should be taking action and stipulations that should be followed.”

A former employee who worked at 30 Wall Street for about a month before leaving in February, tells LaborPress that there is cause for concern.

“I have over ten years experience as an engineer,” the former worker who requested anonymity says. “The conditions at 30 Wall Street are poor. The filters haven’t been cleaned in a long time – I’d say two to three years. Construction makes things go airborne, so Coronavirus transmission is a real danger.”

WeWork — the popular co-working outfit — reportedly has plans to occupy seven floors inside 30 Wall Street.

“A few years ago, there was an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, a respiratory disease that comes from air cooling towers circulating air —now the FDNY does inspections. Something similar needs to take place in terms of indoor air quality,” McBride says. “Some places’ systems air flow is separated. This isn’t the case here.”

One construction worker reportedly became ill and had to be sent home, according to McBride. And although Governor Cuomo has instituted a halt to non-essential construction — he feels there is still a danger to tenants and to construction workers who were previously employed in the building.

“If one person…has the disease then it’s possible they could circulate it throughout the building,” he says.

Colonnade Management has not yet responded to requests for comment.

March 31, 2020

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