Aluminum Shapes LLC, a Camden County, NJ, aluminum manufacturing company is facing $1.9 million in penalties for 51 safety and health violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA initiated its inspection of Delair-based Aluminum Shapes on Jan. 23. Since 2011, the agency has inspected the facility eight times, cited the employer for 60 violations and assessed $516,753 in penalties. The proposed penalties after the January inspection total $1,922,895.
During its 2017 inspection, OSHA inspectors learned two employees ended up hospitalized as a result of separate workplace incidents.
The first incident occurred when employees entered a tank to drain residual sludge containing dehydrated sodium hydroxide, aluminum oxide and decomposed metal. After reporting to their supervisors they were experiencing chemical burns to their skin and attempting to wash off the chemicals, employees were directed to re-enter the tank, where they suffered further chemical injuries, resulting in the hospitalization of one employee.
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.
OSHA issued willful citations due the company’s 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
“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. “These hazards leave workers vulnerable to the risk of serious injury and possible death.”
OSHA also cited the company for repeat violations, including fall hazards, lack of stair rails and machine guarding, and electrical hazards. The company also received serious citations for inadequate ladders, inappropriate respiratory and hearing protection, insufficient entry permits, and lack of machine guarding and hazardous chemical training. Other-than-serious violations included the company’s failure to record each injury on its injury log.
“Aluminum Shapes’ extensive list of violations reflects a workplace that does not prioritize worker safety and health,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “The company can more effectively protect its workers by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system.”