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Phoenix firm's boss banned for dodging safety fine

A construction director who set up a new business to avoid paying a health and safety fine has been banned from serving as a director for six years.

Michael Allen was the director of specialist steel frame manufacturing and erecting firm Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers Limited.

In July 2014 a worker carrying out repairs on a farm building in Buxton, Derbyshire, fell through a roof and suffered life-changing injuries.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive led to the business being fined £274,671 for three breaches in November 2016.

However, Allen and Hunt was liquidated in December 2016, which Mr Allen told Insolvency Service investigators was driven by an inability to pay the fine.

A probe by the Insolvency Service found that, following the Buxton incident, Mr Allen set up a new business in October 2014 carrying out only fabrication services, separating it from the Allen and Hunt installation business.

The new business took on new fabrication contracts while the installation business was wound down.

The Insolvency Service found that, had the fabrication contracts remained with the original business, there would have been enough funds to pay the fine.

Insolvency Service chief investigator Dave Elliott 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.”

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