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Repeat OSHA Violator Goes Bankrupt

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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Shouldering a lengthy, costly record of health and safety violations, a New Hampshire roofing, painting and construction company has declared bankruptcy.

Summer and Winter Construction LLC, of Concord, NH, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester, NH, according to reports.

 The company’s record includes an $18,000 fine for asbestos removal violations dating to 2005.

 Department of Justice

The company’s record includes an $18,000 fine for asbestos removal violations dating to 2005.

Unlike Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a company to reorganize, Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code governs liquidation of a business.

The filing comes in the wake of two recent federal-court rulings ordering the company to pay up.

Company owner Walter Jensen did not file for personal bankruptcy, reports said. Summer and Winter Construction is the latest of a string of painting, roofing and construction enterprises owned by Walter and Sharon Jensen to go belly up.

OSHA, Asbestos Judgments

In June, a federal appeals court ordered the company to pay $101,550 in fines levied against it by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company and its predecessor entities exposed workers to multiple workplace hazards between 2000 and 2009, according to its OSHA record.

The record includes willful and repeat violations for failure to provide adequate roof fall protection, lack of fall protection training, and inadequate ladder length for roof work.

Additionally, a county judge ordered the firm in February to pay $18,000 for improperly managing asbestos in 2005 and 2006, in violation of environmental regulations.

The Merrimack County Superior Court found that Jensen knew about asbestos regulations and was aware that “the manner in which he removed and disposed of the asbestos was illegal.”

Creditors in Line

The company’s less than $50,000 in assets likely won’t pay off its creditors in the bankruptcy procedure, which include the Internal Revenue Service, the state Department of Environmental Services, and Travelers Indemnity Company, among others, reports said.

 The owners have long tangled with health, safety and environmental authorities, and have declared bankruptcy before.
The owners have long tangled with health, safety and environmental authorities, and have declared bankruptcy before.

An attorney for the company, Charles Russell, did not respond to a request for comment.

However, Russell told the Concord Monitor that the bankruptcy filing was due to “a tough economy.”

“And there’s no business, low business, and the income isn’t there, the cash flow isn’t there to pay the debts. …You can look for a lot of other construction companies, Mom-and-Pop construction companies, that went under during the recession.”

Name Game

The company’s predecessor business was Sharon and Walter Construction Inc., which was incorporated in 1995 and filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2004, according to reports.

Before that, another entity with the same market, customers, services and owner, Sharon and Walter Construction Inc. d/b/a S&W Construction, filed for bankruptcy in 1994.

The current company, Summer and Winter Construction LLC was incorporated in 2003, with owner Jensen listed in state records as the sole agent.

However, the small company may now be doing business under the name S&W Roofing.

A woman who answered a phone call to the Summer and Winter Construction Company greeted with “S&W Roofing” and said that the owner, Jensen, did not want to comment on the company’s recent court filing.


Tagged categories: Asbestos; Bankruptcy; Construction; Fall protection; Health and safety; OSHA; Safety equipment; Violations

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