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Aluminum factory injury leads to OSHA fines

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and issued a proposed $308,000 fine to an aluminum company after an employee suffered a broken leg while operating a crane, the administration announced on Wednesday.

Delair, New Jersey-based Aluminum Shapes L.L.C. received citations for one willful violation, three repeat violations, 35 serious violations and five other-than-serious violations related to the March 2015 incident, which led to the employee's hospitalization, according to the administration.

The willful citation involved electrical equipment with damaged parts that could adversely affect the safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment, according to the citations document. The repeat violations involved damaged pendant control boxes for the crane while the serious violations included unguarded floor openings, according to the citations. The employer's failure to report the hospitalization to OSHA within 24 hours and implement a hazard communication program led to other-than-serious violations, the citations stated.

“The number of safety violations found at Aluminum Shapes' plant is completely unacceptable,” Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York, said in the statement. “This employer blatantly ignored known safety requirements, causing a preventable worker injury. This company is now paying a hefty price for its negligence. The hazards identified in the investigation should be immediately addressed to prevent future incidents and ensure worker safety.”

“Aluminum Shapes is greatly disappointed in the results of OSHA's recent investigation at our Delair, New Jersey facility,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “We strongly disagree with the citations issued and penalties assessed, and with OSHA's characterization of some of the alleged violations as 'repeat' and 'willful.' Aluminum Shapes has had a longstanding and effective workplace safety program and we will continue our commitment to employee safety. We are hopeful that we will be able to work with OSHA to resolve this matter.”