Northport-based Suydam & Sons General Contractors is appealing fines levied by the U.S. Department of Labor for safety violations that contributed to a Belfast man’s death.

William Viles, 55, died and two other local men were injured when a Knox barn roof collapsed the morning of Sept. 13, 2018. Suydam & Sons was hired to dismantle the barn and there were additional workers at the scene who were not inside the barn at the time, according to previously published reports.

An investigation by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, determined that Viles was using a chainsaw to cut an overhead section of the barn floor, while at the same time a forklift was removing a previously cut section. The OSHA accident report states the floor collapsed and trapped three workers under debris. Viles died at the scene of a broken neck. The other workers suffered minor injuries, the report states.

According to OSHA, there were four serious violations by the company, noted as “head protection,” “rigging equipment for material handling,” and two for “preparatory operations.” Fines totaling $13,640 were issued for the safety violations. It is noted in the OSHA report that the violations are being contested and that until the inspection is closed, violations may be added or deleted.

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