Company owner sentenced to prison in employees’ deaths
Fatal explosion lead to manslaughter convictions
The owner of a New England munitions manufacturing company is heading to prison after being convicted on two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of two of his employees.
Craig Sanborn was sentenced in Coös County Court in New Hampshire to five to ten years in prison in the May, 2010 explosion at his Black Mag LLC plant. The blast killed employees Jesse Kennett and Don Kendall, who were manufacturing a gunpowder substitute at the time of the incident.
Sanborn, who was the company's president, managing member and primary owner, was also assessed fines of $10,000.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said Sanborn “recklessly ignored basic safety measures” that would have protected the lives of his employees.
“His criminal conviction and sentence won't bring these men back to life, but it will keep him from putting workers' lives in peril,” said Michaels. “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 into the explosion resulted in issuance of 16 willful and over 30 serious safety violation citations, along with a $1.2 million penalty to Black Mag. The citations and penalties were affirmed in an agreement that compelled Sanborn to surrender his ATF explosives manufacturing license and barred him from ever again employing workers in any explosives-related business enterprise.