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‘Serial Violator’ Hit with $385K OSHA Tab

Monday, April 11, 2016

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A New Jersey contractor with a lengthy record of recent past safety violations, now faces more than $385,000 in federal fines for allegedly exposing workers to dangerous fall hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cinnaminson-based Berlin Builders with two willful, nine repeat, eight serious and one other-than-serious violations for unsafe conditions observed at four worksites in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

OSHA
Photos: OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. Fall prevention safety standards consistently rank among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, according to OSHA.

The contractor has been inspected 23 times over the past year throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. OSHA reports it has issued citations in 16 of the inspections, resulting in a total of $403,690 in proposed penalties. That figure does not include the most recent cases.

The company could not be reached Friday (April 8) for comment and does not have a website.

Workers at Risk

"Berlin Builders is a serial violator that callously refuses to take even the most basic steps to protect workers from falls and other serious hazards in construction, an industry among the nation's most hazardous," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia.

"Approximately four in 10 construction workers die in falls at work. It is vital that construction companies take responsibility for protecting their workers from preventable injuries and serious hazards. No one should have to sacrifice their safety for their livelihood."

New Citations  

According to OSHA, the latest round of citations resulted from inspections at two locations in Pennsylvania (Perkasie and Limerick) and at two sites in Middletown, DE.

The agency accuses Berlin Builders of exposing workers to hazards on projects being developed by Ryland Homes, LC Construction, Ryan Homes and Re-Alliance Real Estate Development. Berlin Builders was contracted to perform work on each of the projects, OSHA said.

Stand Down

OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down is scheduled for May 2-6.

OSHA cited Berlin for alleged fall hazards on scaffold platforms and a lack of training for those hazards, failure to provide and use fall protection, and failure to inspect the jobsite for fall and fire-related hazards. Workers were exposed to falls of up to 20 feet.

Citations were also issued for the following alleged violations:

  • Failure to provide and use proper ladders to access a work area;
  • Failure to provide fire extinguishers;
  • Failure to provide covers over holes located 6 feet above the lower floor; and
  • Failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program.

The company has 15 days from the receipt of its citations to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Multiple Names

OSHA officials say the company is suspected of operating under multiple names.

“Individuals associated with this company have also been associated with other companies during OSHA inspections conducted by the Wilmington (DE) Area Office in the past, such as 4X4 General Contractors,” OSHA spokesperson Leni Uddyback-Fortson told Delaware Online.

The report also indicated the address listed in OSHA documents matched another construction company, Five Star Quality Construction, of New Jersey.

   

Tagged categories: Business operations; Fall protection; Health and safety; Home builders; OSHA; Residential Construction

Comment from M. Halliwell, (4/11/2016, 11:41 AM)

I don't like to jump to conclusions, but multiple companies at the same address with the same employees doing the same work sounds fishy to me. With citations for all of them, it sounds like a prime example of the multiple shingle OSHA avoidance scheme to me.


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