ME Roofing Contractor Facing $1.7 Million in Penalties in Employee Fatal Fall Case

Augusta, ME – OSHA has cited the owner of a home improvement company for “egregious willful, repeat, and serious workplace safety violations”, following the death of an employee in a fatal fall in Portland, ME, on December 13, 2018.

Shawn D. Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc – faces a total of $1,792,726 in penalties.

OSHA 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 the owner for seven violations of fall protection requirements since September 2006.

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 his employee’s death.

OSHA Area Director, David McGuan, said, “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.”

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls account for 37 percent of fatalities in the roofing industry, and workers in the roofing industry are three times more likely to experience fatal work-related injuries than other construction workers.

In 2017, there were 366 fatal falls to a lower level out of 971 construction fatalities.