Contractor indicted on manslaughter costs in worker’s fatal fall from roof
The proprietor of a Scarborough domestic development company who has a long records of place of work safety violations has been charged with administrative center manslaughter in the loss of life of a roof artisan who become now not sporting federally required fall safety while he fell to his death from a roof at a residence on Munjoy Hill in December, in step with an indictment released Wednesday.
But the Saco-based contractor, Shawn D. Purvis, 44, stated Wednesday that although he continually gives federally approved protection equipment at his task websites and encourages his roofers to apply it, his people aren’t his employees, but subcontractors, so he can’t pressure them to conform with federal requirements.
Purvis faces one count number of manslaughter, and one rely on administrative center manslaughter inside the dying of Alan Loignon, 30, in step with court docket facts. Loignon and Purvis are half of-brothers and have the identical father, Purvis said.
Purvis stated in a cellphone interview Wednesday that he had not been aware of the indictment.
The indictment, which does no longer encompass any assisting documentation or police reviews, alleges Purvis deliberately or knowingly violated a federal occupational protection or health requirement to have fall protection, and that Loignon’s demise turned into a reasonably foreseeable effect of that failure. Purvis has been summonsed his initial court docket date however has no longer been set, said Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin.
The case is probably most effective the second one time prosecutors in Maine have sought charges beneath the place of job manslaughter statute, that is a subsection of manslaughter and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $five,000 best. If Purvis is convicted at the manslaughter rate, a Class A felony, he’ll face as an awful lot like 30 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.
Under federal workplace protection laws, employers are required to provide protective equipment along with fall harnesses, or make accommodations to save you falls, inclusive of installing transient handrails, while people are at heights above a positive threshold.
But Purvis argued that he isn’t always an enterprise, and whilst he encourages workers to use the massive series of safety equipment he presents, he can not force them to comply. Purvis said he has battled OSHA for a dozen years over this point, and he has refused to pay the kind of $44,000 in fines the safety organisation has tried to levy against him.
With the steering of an lawyer, Purvis said, he has been diligent in following state regulation that governs subcontractors. They are paid each day for his or her work, they supply a number of their very own equipment, and he does now not inform them the way to do their activity, Purvis stated. In addition to shopping for nails and air compressors and shingles and gutters, Purvis stated, he resources them with a complement of safety gadget.
“Every single day, I display up on the job web page … and I tell them, please, be secure, the whole thing you want is here,” Purvis said. “I can’t sit down there 24/7 and watch subcontractors. It’s either they’re going to put on (the safety gear) or they received’t. It’s like carrying a seat belt, it’s either you do it or you don’t.”
He delivered later: “I can supply the entirety to be OSHA authorized, however, I can’t take a seat there and watch these men all day lengthy. That’s their job. They’re self-hired.”
Purvis said that at the same time as his workers are busy installing roofs, he is generally bidding on different jobs, making sales and retaining his books, and he relies on the subcontractors to independently entire the paintings. Purvis said he turned into already distraught over the death of his brother, which has estranged him from Loignon’s spouse, who blames him for her husband’s death.
The place of work manslaughter statute has been in impact considering the fact that Sept. 30, 1989. The first prosecution, in 1991, occurred in York County while a grand jury there indicted a New Hampshire contracting firm in reference to the demise of a 23-yr-old guy who changed into overwhelmed to death even as crews were overhauling the Route 1 bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery in 1989, in line with a story by means of the Associated Press.
Portland police stated Loignon fell from the third-tale roof about eleven:30 a.M. Dec. 13, and died at Maine Medical Center a short time later that day.
Purvis, whose corporation slogan is “Don’t be nervous, call Purvis,” has an A-plus score from the Better Business Bureau, and has been approved using the organization when you consider that 2003. Its website says that the owner is on site at each roofing job and that the business is insured.
But the organization additionally has a history of administrative center protection violations, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which enforces federal employee safety laws. According to federal information, on account that 2012, Purvis Home Improvement of Saco has been ordered to pay more than $44,000 in fines for failing to fulfill fall-protection protection standards.
According to public protection statistics to be had on line, OSHA noted and fined Purvis during inspections in 2012, one inspection in 2015, and a fourth inspection ultimate year.
The maximum latest inspection – in February 2018 – advocated the most important monetary sanction of $24,390, however that case remains open and OSHA is expecting charge of the pleasant, consistent with federal records.
The first nice got here in April 2012, while inspectors located the organization didn’t provide fall prevention structures for employees on low-sloped roofs, and fined the enterprise $2,000. That case is now closed.
Then in November 2012, OSHA once more carried out an inspection and discovered a one of a kind violation related to fall safety. The enterprise become found to have did not provide guardrails, personal fall-arresting structures or safety nets for employees operating on steep roofs. That violation came with a $five,six hundred first-class, and the case is now closed.
The 0.33 violation got here 3 years later, in 2015, when yet again, OSHA determined Purvis to be out of compliance with fall-safety requirements for workers on residential tasks who are more than 6 toes off the floor, costing the organisation $10,000.
That regulation requires the enterprise to either offer fall safety, or in instances wherein it isn’t viable to provide structures which includes guardrails, protection harnesses or netting, the employer have to have a plan in place to mitigate fall chance, in step with OSHA’s standards.
Purvis turned into additionally located throughout that inspection to have violated a 2d trendy that calls for ladders to extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface they connect with, or be secured in location in the event that they do not meet that requirement. That violation fee Purvis $2,2 hundred. According to the OSHA database, the $12,two hundred debt has been forwarded to collections.
In the trendy inspection, from February 2018, Purvis turned into found in violation for the third time of fall-protection requirements for employees on residential tasks greater than 6 feet off the floor, and turned into fined $21,341, according to federal statistics. An extra $3,049 fine changed into for Purvis’ failure to require a worker on an increased growth or basket to put on a safety belt that is then attached through a lanyard to the basket to prevent catastrophic harm inside the occasion of a fall.