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Region 1 News Release: 08-1131-BOS/BOS 2008-234
Tues., Aug. 12, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA cites former DeCoster egg farm for directing employees to work in and atop a partially collapsed building
Maine Contract Farming faces $150,000 in penalties for these and other hazards

AUGUSTA, Maine - The successor company to DeCoster Egg Farms faces $150,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for requiring employees of the Turner, Maine, egg farm to work in and atop a building after its roof collapsed. Maine Contract Farming LLC was cited for four alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards for these and other hazardous conditions.

A section of the roof of an egg processing complex collapsed Feb. 16 under the weight of snow and ice. Maine Contract Farming directed its employees to enter the partially collapsed structure to retrieve eggs and brace the broken roof trusses and to climb atop the damaged roof to remove snow and ice. The employer did not first evaluate the building's structural integrity to determine if it was safe for entry and also did not provide fall protection for the employees on the roof.

"Those employees working inside the building were in danger of being struck by collapsing sections of its roof, walls and framing members while those employees shoveling snow and ice atop the pitched roof lacked protection against falls of up to 22 feet," said William Coffin, OSHA's area direct