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Industrial accident kills worker in New York aluminum plant

For all the progress America has made in workplace safety, some jobs remain dangerous. These are jobs in construction and industrial work that still come with a high risk of accidents and a high risk of death or disability when accidents occur.

Sadly, a worker lost his life earlier this month in an aluminum plant in Scriba, New York. Within hours of the fatal workplace accident, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the scene. At this point, details about the incident are somewhat sketchy, and the full investigation could take months to complete. What is known at this point is that a 31-year-old contractor who had worked at the aluminum plant since 2006 was killed in an accident that occurred in the remelt and recycling area.

Because the man was a contractor, he was not represented by the United Steelworkers union. Commenting on the accident, a union representative noted that "An aluminum plant is a dangerous place to work in general. Unfortunately in this business, these extreme types of accidents do happen.”

Even without having all the details, it is hard to accept the explanation that fatal accidents just “happen.” This is dangerous work, to be sure, but fatal workplace accidents should not simply be accepted as the cost of doing business. Safety is a choice that must be made each and every day.

Hopefully, this attitude is not widely held by others working at the plant. Apathy is its own workplace hazard, and one that no company can afford.

Source:, “OSHA investigating contractor's death at Novelis aluminum plant in Oswego County,” Julie McMahon, July 3, 2014

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