This week, OSHA announced that New Jersey-based aluminum manufacturer Aluminum Shapes is facing $169,524 in penalties for workplace safety violations.
The violations stem from an investigation following a August 2019 industrial accident, during which a crane operator was hospitalized after a steel plate crushed his foot. The plate fell from an uninspected crane at the aluminum manufacturer’s foundry in New Jersey.
In an press release, OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick, in Marlton, New Jersey, said, "Aluminum Shapes continues to disregard their legal responsibility to comply with safety and health standards ... Employers have an obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.”
On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, Aluminum Shapes issued a statement to "interject some transparency in this process."
"Aluminum Shapes wholly disagrees with the statements made by Ms. Dixon-Roderick on behalf of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office. 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 trains its employees to treat safety as their top priority, and has implemented safety protocols exceeding industry standards. This is supported by recent history: 2018 and 2019 were Aluminum Shapes’ safest years on record, and prior to these most recent citations, the company had been inspected by OSHA seven times over the course of nearly three years without OSHA finding any hazards or issuing any citations.
Further, in 2019, Aluminum Shapes had a total of 13 recordable injuries plant-wide, less than half the average of 28 recordable injuries at facilities sharing Aluminum Shapes’ service and product scope. 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."
“OSHA’s statement was counter-productive and factually misleading,” said Solomon Rosenthal, Aluminum Shapes chief executive officer. "Our commitment to the health and safety goes well beyond the OSHA requirements. 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. 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.”
A Department of Labor spokesperson said, "We have no additional comment beyond the previously issued press release."