Construction company fined after failing to control the removal of asbestos
A property owner and building contractor have both been sentenced after a hotel refurbishment project was found to contain asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on site while work was still taking place.
Truro Crown Court heard how a derelict hotel in Newquay had demolition and refurbishment works undertaken despite the presence of identified ACMs on site.
During a proactive inspection, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook asbestos surveys which confirmed the presence of ACMs which had remained in-situ throughout the works, including in some licensable products (e.g. asbestos insulating board). Due to the extent of the spread of asbestos dust throughout the building and the lack of adequate control measures, workers and visitors to the properties were seriously at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.
The building contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £22,000 plus costs of £5,000.
The hotel’s owner also pleaded guilty to breaching S3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £7,500.
HSE inspector Georgina Speake said of the case, “Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.
“The dangers associated with asbestos are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations.”
Asbestos is responsible for around 5,000 deaths each year in the UK alone and present in as many as 50% of buildings across the UK.
If you suspect asbestos is present in your home or place of work, it is important that it be dealt with properly.
If handling asbestos, it is recommended that a licensed asbestos removal contractor undertake the work, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, such as the 3M Scott: Phantom Vision Kit.
For more information on asbestos and appropriate PPE and RPE, get in touch.