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OSHA fines Lancaster County construction company

A construction company in Lancaster County failed to provide fall protection to employees who were working nearly 18 feet in the air, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This week OSHA issued citations to West Cocalico Township-based Burkholder Builders for seven safety violations, four of which were considered serious by the agency.

The violations resulted in a fine of $64,400.

Burkholder Builders was described by Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA’s Harrisburg area office, as being reckless with employees.

Employees were found working on scaffolding and roofs nearly two stories up without fall protection during a Nov. 16 inspection at a Leola work site, according to OSHA.

Examples of fall protection that could be used are safety nets or guard rails, according to Klip.

Klip said that OSHA has different criteria for initiating an inspection, but in this case it was a self referral. An OSHA compliance officer was out in the field already, when imminent danger was observed. With concurrence from the Harrisburg office, an inspection was opened.

OSHA inspectors determined that the company was not following proper procedures when using forklifts.

Employees also were not provided with eye protection while using a nail gun, which they weren’t trained to use properly.

According to Kilp, this isn’t the first time the company has had safety violations.

Burkholder Builders was cited in 2006 after a fatal fall occurred at one of its projects.

Burkholder Builders, which did not respond to requests for comment, has three options, as does any company when cited by OSHA.

It can comply within 15 business days and pay the penalty, request an informal conference with the director of OSHA or contest the findings.

Lenay Ruhl