Workers lose fingers at manufacturer with bad safety record, feds say
Aluminum Shapes at 9000 River Road was cited by OSHA Sept. 23, 2016 for failing to ensure employees' safety. (Google Maps)
By Rebecca Everett | For NJ.com
updated October 07, 2016 at 10:47 AM
PENNSAUKEN TWP., NJ— Federal officials said at least two employees at a township manufacturing facility suffered fingertip amputations this year, all while management ignored warnings to install machine guards to prevent such injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said in a release that it began investigating Aluminum Shapes of 900 River Road in April when the company reported an amputation.
According to the notice issued to the company, a woman's middle finger was amputated when her hand was pulled into a rolling machine.
During the time when OSHA officials were investigating that incident, two more workers were injured: one lost a fingertip and one suffered a thumb injury, the release said.
After completing the investigation, OSHA cited Aluminum Shapes with one serious violation and two repeat violations. The company was rapped for not installing guards on machines and equipment, and also for failing to report the initial amputation within 24 hours, as required.
OSHA had cited the the company for machine guarding violations in March and also in May 2012, according to the release.
The agency fined the company $89,390 as a result of the investigation.
A spokesman for the company told the Courier-Post in a statement that Aluminum Shapes is dedicated to employee safety and this year spent nearly 700 hours installing "new and upgraded safety guards."
The company also hired safety coordinators and consultants spent hundreds of hours training new staff on safety issues, the spokesman told the Post.
Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office, said in a statement that OSHA had also found 44 safety violations at the facility in 2015, including amputation hazards.
"This employer has taken no action to protect its workers and serious and senseless injuries are the result. This is unacceptable," she said. "Employers have a legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe and healthful work environment, and we intend to hold companies accountable when they fail to meet their obligations."
On Sept. 23, 2015, Aluminum Shapes was cited for one willful, three repeat, 35 serious and five "other than serious" violations and fined over $300,000.
In that case, the investigation was launched after the company failed to report within 24 hours that an employee had broken his leg while operating a crane, according to the release.
The violations included allowing employees to use damaged and malfunctioning electrical and other equipment, not guarding metal saws or floor openings.