AUGUSTA – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined an Augusta construction company whose employee was killed at a job site in May.

Kennebec Home Improvements was cited Thursday for three serious violations and fined $9,240, according to public records.

Bill Coffin, a supervisor for OSHA’s Augusta office, said the company has until Aug. 31 to appeal, which would be handled in federal court.

On May 15, Bobbie Rodriques, 54, of Augusta was killed when the building he was working under collapsed on him.

The accident happened at a camp on Marden Shore Road at Lovejoy Pond. Two men from Kennebec Home Improvements had jacked up the camp and crawled under it to repair a post foundation. As they worked, the building fell onto them. Rodriques was pronounced dead at the scene.

The company’s owner, Linwood Stover, 55, also of Augusta, suffered back injuries. The third employee, who wasn’t under the camp, called for help.

Kennebec Home Improvements was cited for three serious violations, each assessed at $3,080. Coffin said he couldn’t discuss details of the investigation but could provide descriptions of each violation because they’re public records.

First, he said, OSHA requires builders to provide a solid foundation for jacks, and to put wood blocks above and below jacks.

Next, once a building has been raised on a jack, it must be secured with cribbing or blocking.

Last, construction companies are required to train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, and are required to do regular inspections, Coffin said.

“A competent person has to inspect the job site — the materials they’re using, the equipment they’re using — to make sure everything is in compliance, is in good working order and is maintained correctly. They did not have that program,” he said.

Stover referred questions to his attorney, Pat Perrino of Augusta. Perrino and Stover received the citations from OSHA on Thursday. Stover hasn’t had an opportunity to read them yet and will decide early next week whether to contest them, Perrino said.

“My gut reaction is we’ll probably appeal,” he said. “OSHA has a habit of picking on the little people all the time and making all these findings, but they’re afraid to go after anyone else.”

Coffin said OSHA has four classes of violations: other-than-serious, serious, repeated and willful.

Coffin said the $9,240 penalty is appropriate according to the OSHA field operations manual. Each of the three violations carries a maximum fine of $7,000. The amount was reduced by 60 percent because of the company’s small size. A 10 percent increase was added because the company had prior OSHA violations.

According to online OSHA archives, Kennebec Home Improvements was cited for 10 serious violations during a job site inspection in July 2010.

Those violations included a lack of a safety guard on a table saw, lack of ground fault circuit interrupters and a lack of fall protection. The company was fined $6,750.

 

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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