When we think of criminal activity, we think of people aiming to hurt others on purpose; those who go out of their way to do wrong. What about those people taking the path of inaction? Could not doing something be as dangerous as doing something bad?
Over the last 11 years, a Maine Roofing contractor with extremely hazardous practices has answered that question, all while illustrating the price of negligence.
Since 2000, Stephen Lessard has been under the OSHA radar for 11 serious violations in 11 locations over an 11 year span. By ignoring OSHA standards time and time again, Lessard has put hundreds of lives in danger over the years — workers on the job were subjected to extremely poor fall protection standards, exposing them to potentially serious or fatal injuries.
Lessard’s contemptuous behavior — including ignoring fines and constant requests for him to correct his actions — has landed him with over $400,000 in penalties and possible jail time. OSHA has finally decided to leverage the law and has charged Lessard with contempt, though it’s taken much longer than he deserved.
After all of the fines and impending litigation, one might assume that Lessard has learned his lesson. If only that were the case.
In the face of all of those accruing charges, Lessard has managed to shirk his responsibilities yet again. Just this January, Lessard was slapped with another $287,000 fine — a new charge that’s been piled atop the previous $400,000 backlog. He may have ridden on relative lenience all these years, but now the time has come to appear before the law, and the judicial system might not be quite as lenient as OSHA has been.
The question remains as to why Lessard would let this happen at all. Why not take the chance to correct his mistakes in the first place and avoid OSHA fines altogether? We’re far from understanding how someone could so easily put the lives of his employees in danger, even less so how he could do it with consistency.
With all of the tools and technology available to us today — things like Field iD and cloud technology — it’s a wonder how someone could neglect safety when it’s easier than ever to ensure it. If you want to know how to be a better business-owner or supervisor, doing the opposite of what Stephen Lessard has been up to is a step in the right direction. To go one step further in your safety efforts, visit the Field iD main page and see how easy effective safety management can be.