The owner of a Maine home improvement company was held personally liable for $1.57 million in punitive damages issued by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the death of an employee.
OSHA announced Wednesday that a federal administrative law judge determined that Shawn D. Purvis, who operates Purvis Home Improvement Co. Inc., knowingly exposed workers to fall hazards on ceilings in three municipalities between 2018 and 2019.
Although Mr. Purvis operates as a corporation, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration administrative law judge from the Commission found Mr. Purvis personally liable for the penalties, according to OSHA.
The judge rejected a claim that the company̵7;s workers were independent contractors not protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act, finding instead that the roofers were employees.
Purvis and his company were charged with 14 willful, two repeated and four serious workplace safety violations after a series of inspections, including one after a worker died in December 2018 after falling more than 21 feet from a steeply sloped roof in Portland. .
OSHA said that Mr. Purvis failed to ensure that his workers had adequate fall protection in workplaces.
After the death, OSHA said it found similar hazards at sites in Old Orchard Beach and Springvale, where employees were exposed to falls without property safety devices.