• Robert Spicer

Disqualified Director Imprisoned For Health And Safety Offences

Crushing Death:Prison Sentences

Department of Business Innovation and Skills and Health and Safety Executive v Paul O’Boyle and Russell Lee (2014) Winchester Crown Court, August 29

Paul O’Boyle and Russell Lee have been sentenced for serious safety and fraud offences following the death of a worker from crushing.

Significant points of the case

• In September 2010 Ian Middlemiss was crushed to death by a heavy sandbox at a foundry operated by Aztech BA Ltd in Alton, Hampshire. The company was run by O’Boyle and by Lee. The sandbox, which weighed two tonnes and fell from the lifting chains of a crane which the deceased was using to manoeuvre it.

• The HSE investigation found that the crane had not been checked and tested and there were inadequate provisions in place dealing with competency, supervision and training.

• There were also problems with lead exposure at the premises. Control and health surveillance measures were inadequate and workers were exposed to potentially harmful levels of lead.

• At the time of the fatality the foundry was the subject of three improvement notices served following earlier visits by the HSE. Few of the required safety improvements had been implemented.

• O’Boyle had contravened two orders which disqualified him from acting as a director. He was convicted of these offences and for an offence under the Fraud Act 2006.

• Lee was convicted of aiding and abetting O’Boyle in the breach of his disqualification and for a breach of section 2, HSW Act.

O’Boyle was sentenced to ten months imprisonment for the fraud offence, eight months for breaches of a disqualification order and 16 months for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Lee was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

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