PORTLAND, Maine — Federal workplace safety officials have asked a judge to hold the owner of Lessard Roofing & Siding in civil contempt, meaning the court could send him to jail if Stephen Lessard does not pay $404,000 in fines assessed in 2011.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a news release about its latest court action Wednesday. It filed its motion with the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals last month.

“Seeking a contempt order, such as this, is a stringent and infrequent action, but one that is more than warranted in this case,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s regional solicitor of labor for New England, in the release.

Regulators wrote that the contempt request comes after inspections at 11 of the company’s work sites from 2003 to 2011 found that employees were exposed to various fall risks.

The company was issued a $243,000 fine, which OSHA said was not paid in connection with safety violations that also were not resolved. Lessard told The Associated Press at the time that his company had not willfully violated any rules and that the federal regulators had singled out his company.

OSHA said that when Lessard did not act to resolve the violation notice, the agency in December 2011 secured a court order to enforce its fines. In July 2014, OSHA said it conducted a follow-up inspection and found that three employees were doing work without required fall protection.

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Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.