KIYC: Sims Metal cited more than a dozen times prior to overnight fire

Firefighters battle large fire at Sims Metal Management recycling plant in Jersey City

Firefighters battle large fire at Sims Metal Management recycling plant in Jersey City (8/20/13)

JERSEY CITY - Sims Metal Management, the Jersey City recycling center that was the scene of a huge fire late Monday night, has been cited for more than a dozen health, safety and environmental violations in the past five years, according to a review of federal and state records by Kane In Your Corner.

In October 2010, a plastic and metal fire raged at the facility for 12 hours. Afterward, the company was fined $2,000 by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Sims Metal Management settled for $1,000.

The company has paid much more than that in fines imposed by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration. In the past five years, OSHA has cited the facility 14 times and imposed penalties of more than $200,000.

The most serious violations came following an inspection in June 2010. OSHA cited Sims Metal Management for eight violations. Of those, six were classified as “serious” and two as “willful” and “repeat” offenses. OSHA said the company “knowingly put its workers at risk by failing to protect them from overexposure to lead, which can cause brain damage, paralysis, kidney damage and even death.” OSHA inspectors also noted potential fire hazards, including "electrical equipment exposed to physical damage; conductors not protected from abrasion; (and) an electrical cord missing a ground pin." The company was fined $188,500.

The most recent violation came in August 2012. OSHA says Sims Metal Management exposed employees to “crushing hazards from moving railcars.” The company settled that case, agreeing to pay $5,250.

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