Repeat OSHA Violator Held in Contempt Image: Thinkstock

Repeat OSHA Violator Held in Contempt

The owner of Maine roofing and construction companies could land in jail for failing to fix safety hazards.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston found Stephen Lessard in civil contempt of a 2011 court order to pay fines and correct violations issues by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Lessard, who owns Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc. and Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. in Greene, Maine, has refused to correct the violations OSHA cited his companies for 11 times at 11 different work sites between 2000 and 2011 and pay the $405,000 in assessed fines and interest.

OSHA in February 2015 asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to hold Lessard in contempt of court for failing to comply to the order issued by U.S. District Court for the District of Maine in December 2011.

“It’s critically important that employers recognize their obligation to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and health of their workers.  The refusal to do so places their employees’ lives and well-being at risk and the employers themselves in legal jeopardy,” said Kim Stille, OSHA’s New England regional administrator.

The judgment orders Lessard to submit proof that he has corrected the cited hazards and to pay $405,485 plus interest and fees to OSHA within 20 days. A failure to comply will result in additional sanctions by the court, which could include imprisonment.

“Mr. Lessard repeatedly flouted that obligation and violated standing court orders; the Labor Department responded by seeking and obtaining a contempt finding by the court of appeals that requires him to pay the fines he owes and comply with his safety and health responsibilities. If he fails to take this finding seriously, the court has made clear he could find himself in jail until he does,” said Michael Felsen, New England regional solicitor of labor.

TAGS: Safety
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