The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Shawn D. Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc., for egregious willful, repeated and serious workplace safety violations.
Purvis, a roofing contractor based in Saco, Maine, faces a total of $1,792,726 in penalties. The enforcement action follows the death of an employee in Portland, Maine, on December 13, 2018.
OSHA says its inspectors found that Purvis knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection by his employees at the Portland worksite and at a separate worksite in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Due to Purvis’ knowledge of the hazard and required safeguards, along with an extensive history of violations, OSHA cited him for 13 egregious willful violations – one for each exposed employee per job site – for failing to ensure the use of fall protection. Each egregious citation carries the maximum allowable penalty of $132,598.
OSHA also cited Purvis for failing to provide fall protection training to his employees and for exposing them to electrocution and eye hazards. OSHA has cited Purvis for seven violations of fall protection requirements since September 2006.
“Effective fall protection can prevent tragedies like this when an employer ensures the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection,” says OSHA Area Director David McGuan of Augusta, Maine. “An ongoing refusal to follow the law exposes other employees to potentially fatal or disabling injuries. Employers cannot evade their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful worksite.”
On April 5, 2019, a Portland grand jury indicted Purvis for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, charging that his repeated violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards caused the employee’s death.
OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on fall hazards on the OSHA Fall Protection webpage.
Purvis has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers can find compliance assistance resources related to OSHA online.