Failure to properly check asbestos survey leads to fine for contractor

News Article

A contractor has been handed a fine after he failed to carry out a suitable assessment for the removal of asbestos from a building he had been due to demolish.

Luton Magistrates Court heard how Anthony West had arranged for a pre-demolition asbestos survey to be undertaken but did not check the results.

Shortly before the demolition work was due to start, a member of the public reported the failure to the HSE, which prompted a full-scale investigation into Mr West’s working practices.

It was revealed during this inspection that Mr West hadn’t properly checked the pre-demolition asbestos survey before carrying out the work. The HSE also found out that Mr West failed to follow advice that he should use a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

Mr West pleaded guilty to breaching sections 5, 7, 8 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and has been fined £2,970 and ordered to pay costs of £5,419.

Following the verdict, HSE inspector Alison Outhwaite said: “The safety failings in this case could have led to severe illness in later years.

Lara Murray an Associate with Palmers, who specialises in health and safety legal matters, said: “The dangers of asbestos are well known and the correct assessments need to be carried out.

“On this occasion, the contractor did only half a job – carrying out the assessment but failing to act on it – and so suffered the legal consequences. The irony of this case is that the combined fine and court fees far outweigh the cost of the remedial work that should have been carried out.

“Asbestos assessments are a legal requirement for good reason – they are in place to protect against exposure to potentially lethal asbestos fibres. Cutting corners – by failing to carry out or act upon surveys – is extremely hazardous and contractors have a duty of care to ensure members of the public, their fellow workers and ultimately themselves are protected from any undue risk.”

For legal advice on health and safety at work, please contact us.