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Disqualified director to blame for foundry workers death

In 2006, Mr O’Boyle, 56, was disqualified for 12 years for violating the Health and Safety at Work Act etc1974, the Fraud Act of 2006 and the Company Directors Disqualification Act of 1986, and was sentenced to more than two years in prison.
He was about a third of the  way through his disqualification, when a two-ton metal sand-moulding box fell from an overhead crane, killing the employee, Mr Middlemiss, instantly. Colleagues struggled to free Mr Middlemiss, but the heavy equipment had done irreversible damage and Mr Middlemiss was pronounced dead at the scene.
HSE inspectors who investigated Mr Middlemiss’ death identified major issues with the lifting equipment and the overall systems of work. These, alongside the offences against the Companies Act that Aztech BA was also found to have breached, allowed for a joint investigation with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Their findings were presented at Winchester Crown Court.
The court was also informed that the HSE had sent the foundry three improvement notices following their visits in 2009 and 2010. However, only minor improvements had been satisfactorily implemented. Had these enforcement notices been taken more seriously, Mr Middlemiss’ death would probably have been avoided.
The now bankrupt Aztech BA Ltd pleaded guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,000. Russell Lee, O’Boyle’s fellow director, pleaded guilty to  aiding and abetting disqualified O’Boyle. He  was fined £8,000, given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and a concurrent six months, and was disqualified as a director for seven years.
If you or a family member are the victims of workplace injuries, contact us. We are personal injury solicitors, specialising in employer’s liability cases. Give us a call on 01302 320621 or email

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