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Prosecutions highlight the continuing ignorance of asbestos dangers
Two separate prosecutions by the Health & Safety Executive
this week have highlighted how building companies are continuing to
ignore the dangers of asbestos.
An estate management director from Brighton was fined £8,000
after failing to manage the spread of asbestos during the
demolition of a building in Sussex. He was also ordered to pay more
than £10,000 in costs.
In a separate case, Cowley's Building & Maintenance Ltd was
yesterday fined £12,500 with £6,295 costs for asbestos
failings during the refurbishment of a Devon pub.
Brighton Magistrates' Court heard on Monday 11 June that between
the 7 and 20 May 2011, Brian Marshall, 44-year-old managing
director of Supply on Demand Ltd, instructed a worker to dismantle
a building at Bluebell Business Estate, Uckfield, with an
excavator. No asbestos survey was carried out before work started
and asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were disturbed during the
An HSE investigation found that Mr Marshall was told about his
duty to manage asbestos by Lewes District council in September
2008. He even obtained a quote in February 2011 for an asbestos
refurbishment survey on another project nearby.
The Devon incident happened at the Three Crowns pub in Chagford,
Dartmoor in January 2010, when the refurbishment was being carried
out for St Austell Breweries by Cowley's Building & Maintenance
and its director, Christopher Reed.
As well as the fine to Cowley's, Exeter Magistrates fined
director Christopher Reed £2,500 with costs of £2,000 and client St
Austell Breweries £5,000 plus £6,295 in costs.
The court heard that the work took place without a suitable
asbestos survey report which should have been provided by St
"Once the asbestos boards were found, the site manager should
have stopped the demolition work and reduced the risk of exposure
by providing the workmen with a safe system of remedial measures.
All those involved in refurbishment or demolitions must be fully
aware of their responsibilities for workers' safety when carrying
out their work. This should include following a safe
decontamination process, which, depending on severity, could
include use of a mask, safe disposal of contaminated clothing and
taking a shower."
Information on the duty to manage asbestos is available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/campaign/duty.htm
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