OSHA: Serial Violator Charged with Contempt

Stephen Lessard ignored safety hazards and failed to pay $404,000 in assessed fines, the agency charges.

The U.S. Department of Labor has asked a federal appeals court to hold Stephen Lessard in civil contempt, according to a news release from OSHA. Lessard defied a court order to correct violations cited by OSHA and failed to pay $404,000 in fines and interest, the agency contends, stating that his companies, Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc. and Lessard Brothers Construction Inc., were cited for safety violations 11 times at 11 different work sites in Maine. For each of these violations, Lessard did not respond and refused to act on final orders from OSHA.

"This is scofflaw behavior by a serial violator who demonstrates contempt — not only for the law and the U.S. Court of Appeals, but for the safety and lives of his employees," said Maryann Medeiros, OSHA's area director in Maine. "What's especially disturbing is that many of the violations involve fall hazards, which are the primary cause of death in construction work, the industry in which Mr. Lessard and his companies operate."

"We have asked the court to subject Mr. Lessard to strong sanctions, including incarceration if necessary, should he continue to flout the law and the court's earlier order," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor for New England. "Seeking a contempt order, such as this, is a stringent and infrequent action, but one that is more than warranted in this case."

Most recently, OSHA cited him for egregious willful, repeated, and serious violations for fall-related hazards at a Lewiston, Maine, work site and fined him $287,000, the agency reported.

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