The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Aluminum Shapes for workplace safety and health hazards after a crane operator was injured in August 2019 at the aluminum manufacturer’s Delair foundry.
The DOL says the company faces $169,524 in penalties for these violations.
According to the DOL, a steel plate fell from an uninspected crane onto the foot of an employee, causing injuries that required hospitalization. The DOL cited the company for one serious and three repeat citations for failing to report the injury to OSHA within 24 hours of the employee’s hospitalization; failure to conduct annual crane inspections with written certification; and failure to balance and secure the load properly.
“Aluminum Shapes continues to disregard their legal responsibility to comply with safety and health standards,” OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick of Marlton said. “Employers have an obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.”
OSHA’s cranes and derricks in construction standard provides information on required crane inspections. The agency provides compliance assistance on reporting a severe injury. OSHA placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for repeated safety failures.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 help ensure these conditions for American workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance.
On Jan. 29, Aluminum Shapes refuted the citations against the company in a press release, saying it “wholly disagrees” with Dixon-Roderick’s statements, and that it intends to content the findings.
“The notion that Aluminum Shapes has disregarded its legal responsibility to comply with health and safety standards is false and misleading. … Aluminum Shapes takes its obligation to provide a safe workplace for our workers very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “The company trains its employees to treat safety as their top priority, and has implemented safety protocols exceeding industry standards.”
According to the company, the past two years were its safest on record. And, Aluminum Shapes said that over almost three years it was inspected by OSHA seven times resulting in zero hazardous findings or any issuing of citations.
“Far from being out of step with the ‘safety and health standards’ cited by Ms. Dixon-Roderick, Aluminum Shapes’ standards are outperforming those of its peers,” the statement continued.
The company said that in 2019 it recorded 13 injuries plant-wide, coming it at less than half of the average 28 recordable injuries at similar facilities in service and product scope.
“In just the past two years, we instituted training regimens that outstrip OSHA’s standard, added frequent mandatory safety-focused huddles, and began sponsoring healthy lifestyle initiatives. The results that we have obtained demonstrate that our methods are working,” Aluminum Shapes Chief Executive Officer Solomon Rosenthal said in the statement. “OSHA’s rhetoric notwithstanding, these citations—like the citations issued to the company in early 2017 and still under contest—were improperly issued. We intend to contest these citations, and look forward to obtaining rulings by the courts in all pending OSHA matters, which we expect will set the record straight on the claims made by Ms. Dixon-Roderick.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:48 p.m. EST on Jan. 30 to include response from Aluminum Shapes.