A Saco-based contracting company whose owner is awaiting a workplace manslaughter trial agreed to settle a separate set of safety violations by paying $45,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A U.S. District Court judge ordered Purvis Home Improvement to pay an initial $3,000 on June 1, followed by monthly installments of $500 beginning on June 15 and ending on June 15, 2027. The settlement is for a total of four violations in 2015 and 2018 at two separate locations in Scarborough.
Maine prosecutors accused owner Shawn Purvis in May 2019 of recklessly causing the death of his half-brother, 30-year-old Alan Loignon, who fell from a three-story apartment building in Portland in December 2018 while climbing down a ladder onto scaffolding without safety gear. Purvis pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and workplace manslaughter.
Purvis has received repeated OSHA citations in recent years. It cited Purvis Home Improvement in June 2019 for 17 violations carrying penalties of nearly $1.8 million following Loignon’s death. Last November, the company was cited for willful, repeated and serious workplace safety violations at a job site in Springvale, and is facing $278,000 in new penalties.
“This employer’s ongoing defiance of the law continues to place his workers at risk for disabling and fatal injuries,” Loren Sweatt, the head of OSHA, said in a statement in late 2019.
In the manslaughter case, attorneys for the victim’s estate said Purvis Home Improvement was in control of the job site and provided all safety equipment but didn’t have workers use it. A Portland grand jury indicted Purvis for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter in April 2019, charging that repeated violations of OSHA standards caused the death.
The criminal trial was scheduled for April in Portland, but it was continued because of the coronavirus and has not been rescheduled. Workplace manslaughter is a Class C crime. If convicted, Purvis faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.