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‘Phoenix’ steel fabricator boss disqualified for evading fine

A engineering boss who liquidated his company and set up a new business to avoid paying a fine after a worker was seriously injured has been disqualified from serving as a director for six years.

‘Phoenix’ steel fabricator boss disqualified for evading fine
©iStock/ yuriz

Michael Allen, 64, was a director of Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers, a specialist manufacturer and builder of steel-framed structures based in Derbyshire.

In July 2014, a worker was using two homemade crawling boards to replace fibreboard roofing panels on a barn in Buxton when he fell 6 m, seriously injuring his head, hip and lung.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching ss 4(1), 7 and 9(2) of the Working at Height Regulations. It was fined £267,000 plus £7,750 costs at Derby Magistrates’ Court in November 2016. 

Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers went into liquidation one month later because it could not afford to pay the penalty, Allen told Insolvency Service investigators. 

However, a follow-up investigation by the Insolvency Service found that Allen had established a new company three months after the accident, in October 2014. It focused solely on fabrication services and took on new clients, while the installation side of the business was wound down.

Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers would have been able to pay the fine imposed by the court had the fabrication contracts remained within the original company, the Insolvency Service said. 

Effective from today (27 June), Allen is now banned from promoting, forming or managing a company for six years without the permission of the court.  

Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Michael Allen had a lack of regard for the workers, which unfortunately resulted in a horrific injury for one person. 

“Directors who fail to adhere to health and safety regulations to protect their employees and then fail to pay the fine can expect to face the consequences of a period of disqualification.”

 

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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