Blast Death Nets Plant Owner Prison Time

Monday, December 2, 2013 @ 02:12 PM gHale

A gunpowder plant owner is looking at a minimum of 10 years in prison after his sentencing for a 2010 explosion that killed two workers in New Hampshire.

After convicting Craig Sanborn last month on manslaughter charges, he ended up sentenced last Wednesday 10 to 20 years in prison.

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Prosecutors said Sanborn was reckless in manufacturing, testing and storing the black powder and failed to adequately train workers at the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, NH, where an explosion killed Donald Kendall, 56, of Colebrook, and Jesse Kennett, 49, of Stratford.

Sanborn’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, argued his client was out of town and said the fatal blast could have been the result of various scenarios, including employee error or a stray piece of metal creating friction inside a machine.

Sanborn, of Maidstone, VT, went into custody after his sentencing.

“The disregard for safety cost two workers their lives, and this jury agreed that Craig Sanborn’s actions were criminal,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA).

“Sanborn recklessly ignored basic safety measures that would have protected their lives,” he said. “His criminal conviction and sentence won’t bring these men back to life, but it will keep him from putting workers’ lives in peril. And it should drive home to employers this message: Worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers’ lives are not–and must never be–considered part of the cost of doing business. We categorically reject the false choice between profits and safety.”

OSHA’s investigation after the plant explosion resulted in 16 willful and over 30 serious safety violation citations, along with a $1.2 million penalty to Black Mag.

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