Employer in Maine sewer tank deaths to fight fines

Posted Oct. 28, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The employer of two men who died after inhaling sewer gases at a job site in Kennebunkport last month says he will likely challenge proposed federal fines of nearly $17,000.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed the fines after 58-year-old Winfield Studley of Windsor and 70-year-old Richard Kemp of Monmouth died from inhalation of hydrogen sulfide while working on a pump inside a sewer tank at a motel.

OSHA cited Stevens Electric & Pump Service for failure to ventilate the work area and for failing to have a rescue procedure in place.

Company owner Tim Stevens tells the Portland Press Herald all of the required ventilation, monitoring and safety equipment was at the job site, but for some unexplained reason, the two men chose not to use it.