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Fall hazards result in fines for oft-cited contractor


A New Jersey contractor is facing another series of citations from federal workplace safety regulators and total proposed fines of $789,536.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Cinnaminson, New Jersey-based residential construction contractor Berlin Builders Inc. for one willful, two repeat and two serious violations at a Philadelphia worksite following an October 2015 inspection and proposed $106,470 in fines, according to an agency press release issued on Thursday.

Inspectors responded to an imminent danger report and found workers at risk of fall hazards 38 feet above ground without proper fall protection, according to the agency. OSHA also issued citations for other violations, including failing to ensure employees used eye protection while using pneumatic nail guns and failing to ensure employees operating rough terrain forklifts were trained and evaluated in the safe operation of the equipment.

Berlin Builders has failed 21 of 27 federal safety inspections in 12 months due to potentially fatal fall hazards, according to the agency. Falls are the leading cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry.

“Berlin Builders has an extensive OSHA history that reflects a callous disregard for its employees,” Nicholas DeJesse, director of the agency's Philadelphia Area Office, said in a statement. “A developer and contractor that hire this company are truly rolling the dice on worker safety. Amid the hazards we have cited, two Berlin Builders' employees suffered falls in 2015. This employer must make immediate changes before something worse happens.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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