Roofing contractor whose employee died in fall faces nearly $1.8 million in fines
A Saco-primarily based roof craftsman is going through almost $1.Eight million in fines for failing to shield his employees from falls, after one died in December in a plunge from a roof on Munjoy Hill.
Shawn D. Purvis, 44, faces a complete of $1,792,726 in fines from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The employer cites what it referred to as thirteen egregious violations of failing to protect his employees from fall hazards, one for every worker who labored at activity web sites that had been the point of interest of the investigation.
It is the most important workplace safety best in New England in latest years, a spokesman for OSHA said. It dwarfs a 2015 penalty of $287,660 for a Maine construction organization for similar disasters to defend against worker falls, and a $1.Four million levy towards a Massachusetts employer in 2017 for failing to defend two employees who died in a trench when it packed with water.
“Effective fall safety can prevent tragedies like this whilst a company guarantees the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection,” stated OSHA Area Director David McGuan in a declaration. “An ongoing refusal to comply with the regulation exposes other personnel to probably fatal or disabling accidents. Employers can’t avoid their responsibility to ensure a secure and healthful paintings website online.”
Alan Loignon, 30, a longtime Purvis roofing employee and Purvis’ half of brother, fell to his dying Dec. Thirteen, 2018, from a 3rd-tale roof on Munjoy Hill in Portland as he attempted to climb down a ladder onto a scaffolding platform, OSHA said in its investigative record.
Under federal OSHA hints, any company whose work is uncovered to a drop of greater than 6 feet wherein there is no guardrail is needed to make sure employees use fall protection, whether or not through personal protection harnesses, trap nets or other fall-arresting structures.
Among other violations, OSHA levied the maximum high-quality of $132,598 for each of the thirteen people gift at the Munjoy Hill job web page and another in Old Orchard Beach who were no longer included through fall-arresting structures required by using law.
Purvis has 15 enterprise days to pay the fines, contest them or ask for an informal assembly with federal officers wherein he can argue for modification or reduction of the penalty.
Purvis’ attorney, Thomas Hallett, said his purchaser plans to mission the OSHA fines through arguing that the federal place of job protection organization is stretching its own guidelines impermissibly and lacks the jurisdiction to sanction Purvis Home Improvement Inc., Purvis’s agency, because Purvis dealt with his workers as subcontractors and, therefore, could not workout manage over them.
“Because Purvis Home Improvement cannot exercise manipulate over how impartial contractors do their jobs, it can not mandate safety protocols,” Hallett stated in an email. “Purvis Home Improvement can and did make certain that all necessary protection equipment become available always.”
Hallett additionally alleged that Loignon’s loss of life was the result of his personal choice now not to put on a protection harness.
He additionally stated Loignon ingested concentrated marijuana, called dabs, whilst he changed into on the roof earlier than he fell, and that a toxicology test after Loignon’s dying showed he had high levels of THC in his bloodstream.
“I also need to point out that the fact of this case is that Mr. Loignon selected not to wear a protection harness, which was at the site, after which selected to go up at the roof and dab marijuana which caused him to fall,” Hallet wrote in an electronic mail. “Those choices proved disastrous, but had been truly no longer my client’s fault.”
In preceding interviews, Purvis has echoed his attorney’s arguments, announcing he isn’t always an agency and rather hires unbiased subcontractors, and at the same time as he encourages them to use safety gear he presents, he can’t force them to conform. Purvis said he has battled OSHA for a dozen years over this factor and has refused to pay the kind of $ forty-four,000 in preceding fines the protection business enterprise has tried to levy against him.
But that argument contradicts a roofing enterprise felony institution’s recommendation that even though a commercial enterprise owner classifies an employee as a subcontractor, the owner remains chargeable for implementing OSHA policies.