US Department of Labor fines New Jersey auto parts seller $1.2M for 33 workplace safety, health violations following worker’s serious hand injury
CAMDEN, NJ – On Sept. 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an inspection of My Auto Store after a vehicle lift crushed a worker’s hand in Camden. The agency determined that The Auto Store LLC – operator of the automobile dismantling company – failed to have proper safeguards in place to protect employees from an accidental machine startup.
The inspection identified 33 workplace safety and health violations – including willful, repeat and serious citations – and resulted in proposed penalties totaling $1,260,275. OSHA’s inspection found that the store:
- Willfully failed to develop and use lockout/tagout and machine guarding procedures to prevent employees from being hit by the moving conveyor line.
- Willfully did not prevent fires, which happened frequently along the conveyor line when sparking tools ignited gasoline vapors.
- Willfully failed to keep an emergency egress clear.
- Did not protect employees from being caught in automobile lifts.
- Failed to equip employees with personal protective equipment or provide fire extinguisher training.
- Exposed workers to electrical, noise, machine guarding, crushing and flammable material hazards.
“By disregarding required safety protections, My Auto Store contributed to a worker’s serious and life-altering injury. If this company had complied with basic workplace safety standards and implemented safety programs, this incident could have been prevented,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. “OSHA has extensive resources available to help employers recognize and minimize hazards, and ensure their employees are properly protected.”
A subsidiary of European Metal Recycling USA Holdings Limited, The Auto Store LLC sells wholesale and retail parts salvaged from used vehicles through an assembly line process.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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 America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.