Delair, NJ – Aluminum Shapes LLC announced layoffs effecting 61 employees this month as a consequence of heavy fines incurred under the newly implemented increased OSHA fee structure. A statement from Aluminum Shapes reads: “The size of OSHA’s fine as it stands today has forced the company to take these extreme measures.”
The aluminum parts manufacturer was cited in July for 51 safety and health violations following workplace accidents that hospitalized two employees earlier in the year. At that time, Aluminum Shapes management argued that the new OSHA fee structure “results in higher fine amounts and unfair media attention, even as conditions improve.” The total penalty for the 51 violations was $1.9 million as fines for repeat violations have increased from $70,000 per infraction to $124,709 per under the new fine structure.
OSHA fines and penalties increased 78% in the fall of 2016 after legislation took effect which required federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The last update to OSHA’s penalty/fine structure occurred in 1990, so this recent jump reflects 26 years without increase or update.
The layoff announcement included 51 unionized workers, 6 front-office staffers, and 4 front-office managers. This affects about 13 percent of the company’s 367 unionized workers. Aluminum Shapes LLC had recently grown from 376 to 480 employees.
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