Monday, 1 September 2014

Directors jailed for safety and fraud offences

Paul O’Boyle, a Hampshire businessman, was today jailed on 29th August for a total of 26 months for fraud and safety offences. A second businessman, Russell Lee, was given a 12 month suspended prison sentence, ordered to pay £8000 and  given 150 hours’ community service for similar offences.
The safety offence related a death in September 2010 at Aztech(BA) Ltd., a foundry which is now insolvent.
The circumstances were:
  • The foundry was the subject of three Improvement Notices served by HSE following earlier visits in September 2009 and June 2010. 
  • A number of important safety improvements were required, but few had been satisfactorily implemented, largely, claimed the management team, because of financial constraints.
  • The crane at the centre of the incident had not been checked and tested. 
  • There were inadequate provisions in place covering competency, supervision and training.
  • On 30 September 2010, a worker was crushed and killed by a two-tonne metal sand-moulding box that fell from the lifting chains of a crane he was using to manoeuvre it.

During the investigation into the fatality, but not related to it, problems with lead exposure at the company were identified. Substances containing lead were used elsewhere at the site, but the control and health surveillance measures were insufficient.
Aztech BA Ltd was fined £100,000 after a guilty plea was submitted on behalf of the insolvent firm by its administrators. 
The fraud offences are outside the scope of this blog but can be read at .
The HSE Director of Operations, Southern Division, said:
“The safety standards at Aztech BA Ltd fell well short of those required, as Paul O’Boyle and Russell Lee were only too aware. They knew improvements were needed to protect workers like Ian Middlemiss and they had clear responsibilities as senior management to ensure the necessary changes were implemented. Sadly one of the many areas that was seemingly overlooked was the system of work surrounding the overhead crane. Had this been properly assessed then Ian’s tragic death could have been prevented.”

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