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OSHA has taken Scarborough, Maine, roofing contractor Purvis Home Improvement to court to collect unpaid safety violation fines, the Portland Press Herald reports. The owner of the roofing company, Shawn Purvis, also faces charges of workplace manslaughter in the death of a roofer who was not wearing fall protection gear.

The action OSHA filed in U.S. District Court seeks to collect $54,353.21 from Purvis Home Improvement, the company owned and operated by Shawn Purvis, for job safety violations Purvis incurred in 2015 and 2018. Those fines were imposed before the fatal accident in December, although the federal agency says Purvis has refused to pay.

In those cases, OSHA inspectors found Purvis had repeatedly failed to enforce federal rules requiring each worker to wear fall-protection equipment if they are exposed to an unprotected drop of 6 feet or more.

Purvis has said he refused to pay the fines for years because he believes OSHA was not correctly enforcing its own rules and incorrectly classified the subcontractors that Purvis hired as employees. Purvis said, as private contractors, his workers are responsible for following OSHA guidelines. He said he provides all of the equipment required to do so, but cannot force them to wear the harnesses or take safety precautions.

Purvis pleaded not guilty in the criminal case in which he faces manslaughter and workplace manslaughter charges.

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