Asbestos – HSE Prosecutions for failings…..

The importance of understanding your responsibilities for the management of asbestos… 

There have been two press releases this week from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) with regards to asbestos and a failure to manage its’ presence….

In the first case, Newnham College has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the college.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that in March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them.

The college pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.

In the second case, a property owner and his building contractors were both been sentenced after a refurbishment project of an old hotel was found to contain asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on site while work was still taking place. The hotel had been left derelict for several years, allowing it to be subject to vandalism and squatting and had been soft-stripped by its owner. Asbestos surveys identified the presence of ACMs, but these were not managed appropriately nor removed prior to the work. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the former hotel was being refurbished and partially demolished whilst ACMs remained in-situ. Some of these ACMs were licensable products (e.g. asbestos insulating board which contains amosite). Due to the extent of the spread of asbestos dust and debris throughout the building and the lack of adequate control measures, workers and visitors to the properties were at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.

The building contractors pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 and the property owner pleaded guilty to breaching S3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £7,500.

You can read both of the prosecution details in full on the HSE website here

 

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