An aluminum manufacturing company based in Delair, N.J., is facing nearly $2 million in fines after OSHA inspectors discovered 51 safety and health violations. The agency cited Aluminum Services LLC, which has a history of noncompliance, after inspecting the company’s facilities in January and finding that two employees were hospitalized as a result of two separate incidents.
“Aluminum Shapes’ extensive list of violations reflects a workplace that does not prioritize worker safety and health,” says Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York in a statement. “The company can more effectively protect its workers by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system.”
During its Jan. 23 inspection, agency inspectors learned that two employees previously were injured.
The first worker experienced chemical burns after entering a tank to drain residual sludge containing dehydrated sodium hydroxide, aluminum oxide and decomposed metal. Despite employees reporting to supervisors that they were experiencing chemical burns to their skin, the workers were directed to re-enter the tank, suffering further injuries.
The second incident occurred when a machine operator suffered a broken pelvis after being caught between the unguarded moving parts of a metal fabrication machine, according to OSHA.
According to OSHA, Aluminum Services LLC committed willful violations for failure to:
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment
- Conduct air monitoring prior to permit-required confined space entry
- Have an attendant during permit-required confined space entry
- Complete a required confined space entry permit to identify, evaluate and control hazards in the space
- Provide confined space training
- Utilize proper lockout/tagout (control of hazardous energy) procedures
- Provide workers with locks and hardware to lock out equipment being serviced, maintained, or repaired
- Lack of specific procedures for the use of blocking devices
- Utilize group lockout procedures
- Train workers in lockout/tagout.
OSHA also cited the company for repeat violations including fall hazards, lack of stair rails, machine guarding and electrical hazards. Aluminum Services LLC also received serious citations for inadequate ladders, inappropriate respiratory and hearing protection, insufficient entry permits, and lack of machine guarding and hazardous chemical training. In total, OSHA proposed penalties of $1,922,895.
Since 2011, OSHA has inspected the facility eight times, and cited the company for 60 violations, assessing $516,753 in penalties.
“Despite its lengthy OSHA history, Aluminum Shapes still does not comply with federal safety and health standards,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office in a statement. “These hazards leave workers vulnerable to the risk of serious injury and possible death.”