A roofing contractor based out of Greene, Maine is currently facing charges of contempt after ignoring safety hazards and refusing to pay the resulting fines. According to officials, Stephen Lessard was cited for safety violations on eleven occasions at eleven different work sites. The charges were brought against him when he defied a court order dating back to 2011 ordering him to correct OSHA violations and pay a 404,000 dollar fine. According to the Department of Labor, most of the 11 safety violations involved fall hazards which put his employees at risk. Unfortunately, this is just one story among many more across the country. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has many rules in place to keep roofers and others in the construction industry safe, and though most contractors comply with these rules, there are some who cut corners to save a little time and money, putting the lives of their employees at risk.
What this means for homeowners
Though it is the responsibility of the contractors to comply with OSHA regulations, use proper safety equipment, and undergo all of the necessary training in safety procedures, homeowners can also help keep contractors accountable. Homeowners need to savvy when it comes to the safety precautions that laborers are taking when working on their properties. What many homeowners don’t realize is that they can actually be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. Whether or not they are held responsible financially, homeowners will probably feel responsible and be plagued by feelings of guilt knowing that a person was hurt while working on their property. Though accidents can always happen, homeowners can minimize this risk by being alert and by asking their contractor some important questions:
. Does the contractor carry insurance? What does it cover? Contractors are required to carry insurance in the event of an on-the-job injury or any damage to the homeowner’s property. A reputable contractor will be prepared to show proof of insurance
· What safety equipment and safety measures will the employees have while working? Homeowners shouldn’t be shy to ask about how the contractor will keep employees safe on the job. Homeowners should also keep a watchful eye as the project continues. Report anything that is potentially dangerous such as workers on a roof without equipment that would prevent a fall.
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