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June 30. 2011 9:37PM

Agreement bars company from making explosives

COLEBROOK — The manufacturer that once produced gunpowder has surrendered its license and will never make explosives-related materials again, according to an agreement it has reached with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agreement comes more than a year after an explosion at Millennium Design Muzzleloaders rocked downtown Colebrook and killed two employees. The company never reopened and, according OSHA, it never will, nor will company president Craig Sanborn ever be able to work in an explosives-related business.

“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, New England regional administrator for OSHA. “This resolution accomplishes those goals by ensuring that neither Black Mag LLC nor Mr. Sanborn will ever again place employees at risk in any kind of business that uses or makes explosives.”

Meanwhile, the former Manchester Manufacturing building in the Colebrook Industrial Park, where the gunpowder was made, remains standing, although badly damaged, according to Colebrook Town Manager Donna Caron.

“It’s still wide open and the tin on the roof is rattling and we’ve been concerned that kids could get in there and get hurt,” she said.

The job to dismantle the now-cavernous building went out to bid several months ago, but it has not started yet.

The explosion on May 14, 2010 killed workers Jesse Kennett and Donald Kendall and injured a third man. Last October, OSHA fined Black Mag Industries more than $1 million for safety violations, which the company said then it would “vigorously contest.”

The investigative report contained 54 workplace safety and health citations that added up to $1.2 million in penalties.

According to a statement by OSHA, Black Mag withdrew its notice of contest and agreed that it violated the OSHA Act. The company has certified that it ceased operation “when the 2010 explosion destroyed the facility and put it out of business,” according to OSHA officials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., “agrees that he will not conduct, establish, own or manage by himself, with or through others, any current or future business that is covered anywhere under OSHA’s explosives or process safety management standards if that business employs workers or independent contractors.”

Sanborn is also ordered to have no involvement “in any enterprise that has employees if it is located within 1,000 yards of another business that is covered under OSHA’s explosives or process management safety standards,” according to the order.

“While nothing can ever bring Jesse Kennett or Don Kendall back to their loved ones, this resolution is designed to prevent future deaths or injuries,” said Michael Felsen, the Labor Department’s regional solicitor for New England. “It includes a provision that will allow the Labor Department to charge Mr. Sanborn with contempt in federal court if he violates the terms.”



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