Delair, NJ – Aluminum Shapes LLC faces proposed federal safety fines of $1.9 million following workplace accidents that hospitalized two employees at its NJ plant. The aluminum parts manufacturer stands accused of 51 safety and health violations, but contends that the new OSHA fee structure “results in higher fine amounts and unfair media attention, even as conditions improve.”
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.
Two serious injuries and hospitalizations at Aluminum Shapes were brought to OSHA’s attention during an inspection that began in January 2017. In separate incidents, an employee was hospitalized for chemical burns and another worker’s pelvis was broken by unguarded moving parts of a metal fabrication machine.
Additionally, OSHA cited Aluminum Shapes for repeat violations which included electrical hazards. Fines for repeat violations have increased from $70,000 per infraction to $124,709 per under the new fine structure.
While Aluminum Shapes maintains that it takes workplace safety “extremely seriously” and noted an ongoing effort to upgrade protections for its employees, OSHA reports that the company has been assessed more than $500,000 in penalties for 60 violations since 2011.
Aluminum Shapes LLC supplies construction firms, automakers, and other industries, and employs about 400.
Oregon, OH – Proper machine guarding and employee training could have prevented an amputation at the Autoneum North America plant just across the river from Toledo, OH. The auto parts maker is being fined $570,000 after a worker lost his right hand and part of his arm in an industrial accident.
Federal investigators report that a 46-year-old man was feeding scrap material into an unguarded shredding machine in December when he was hurt. OSHA says the accident was preventable and therefore cited the Autoneum plant for three of its highest safety violations. Federal officials cited the company for lacking proper protective guards and failing to train workers on proper operating procedures.
Autoneum North America makes automotive insulation at the factory in Oregon, OH
Center, TX – OSHA has issued fines of more than $263,000 to Tyson Foods after an unguarded conveyor belt in Tyson’s Center (TX) facility caught a worker’s finger and dragged his hand into a deboning machine. The employee’s finger was amputated by the machine when he was trying to remove chicken parts jammed in its conveyor belt.
In their investigation, OSHA found 15 serious workplace safety violations and two repeated violations at the Center plant of the nation’s largest poultry processor, Tyson Foods. Violations found included amputation hazards, worker exposure to high levels of gases and acids, lack of employee PPE, and no safety guards on machine parts and catwalks.