New Jersey aluminum foundry pays $1M Labor Department

Aluminum Shapes LLC will affirm a $1 million penalty and accept 10 willful, 15 repeat and 55 serious violations and one other-than-serious citation in a settlement agreement to resolve two long-running U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration cases related to a fatality and a series of employee injuries at the company’s Delair plant.

A website for Aluminum Shapes features a message on Twitter posted by Camden County Commissioner Louis Cappelli Jr. calling the firm a “good corporate citizen” despite its record of killing and maiming workers.

A report published in 2017 said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had inspected the company’s facility eight times since 2011, cited the employer for 60 violations and assessed $516,753 in penalties for having inadequate protection on machinery.

OSHA cited the manufacturer again following a January 2017 inspection that found 51 safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $1.9 million after learning of the two hospitalizations, in which one employee was treated for chemical injuries and another suffered a broken pelvis after being caught between the unguarded moving parts of a metal fabrication machine.

A worker at the aluminium extrusion companywas killed when he was crushed in an aluminum press he was operating one evening during August 2014.

Another employee was fatally injured in August 2016, when an accident occurred involving extrusion machinery used to process aluminum casting alloys.

The company also agreed to implement enhanced abatement measures, including developing a comprehensive safety and health plan, retaining a full-time safety professional with demonstrated experience in lockout/tagout and confined space compliance, and implementing additional employee training.

“While this settlement can never reverse the senseless loss of life and serious injuries that occurred, it goes a long way in ensuring employer accountability and providing key worker protections to prevent future incidents,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York. “The agreement further demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to pursue every available opportunity to enforce workplace safety laws.”

Trial attorneys from the Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York negotiated the settlement.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Aluminum Shapes claimed the pandemic’s impact has forced it to seek a buyer for its operations because it is deep in debt and operating at only 10 percent capacity at its 500,000-square-foot complex in the Delair section of Pennsauken, according to a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden.

The company reportedly employs 111 workers.

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