Vt. firm banned from explosive biz after NH blast

The Associated Press
Posted July 04, 2011, at 8:56 p.m.

COLEBROOK, N.H. — A New Hampshire gunpowder company had agreed to stay out of the explosives business forever and surrender the company’s explosives license as a way to settle dozens of citations issued by the federal government in the aftermath of a 2010 factory explosion that killed two men in Colebrook.

Black Mag Industries made the agreement last week with the U.S. Department of Labor as a way to settle 54 citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the aftermath of the explosion that heavily damaged the plant, shook buildings blocks away and forced dozens of homes to be evacuated.

Black Mag’s principle owner, Craig Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., agreed to never employ workers in any explosives-related business enterprise, OSHA said.

“What we seek in all cases is for the employer to eliminate hazardous conditions and take effective action to prevent their recurrence,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s New England regional administrator. “This resolution accomplishes those goals by ensuring that neither Black Mag nor Mr. Sanborn ever again places employees at risk in any kind of business that uses or makes explosives.”

Reached at his home on Monday, Sanborn declined comment.

Jesse Kennett, 49, of Stratford, and Donald Kendall, 56, of Colebrook, had been working a month when they were killed in the explosion and another man was injured. The men were making a gun powder substitute known as Black Mag powder.

OSHA said earlier the company failed to train the workers and chose not to use or install remote starters, isolated operating stations or appropriate shields and barriers. Employees also were not given proper protective gear such as fire resistant clothing and face shields.

The Caledonian Record of St. Johnsbury, Vt., says that several months after the explosion, the families of Kennett and Kendall filed wrongful death lawsuits against Millennium Designed Muzzleloaders, Black Mag’s parent company.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/04/news/vt-firm-banned-from-explosive-biz-after-nh-blast/ printed on August 21, 2014