Two companies hit with fines as a result of unsafe asbestos removal

Penalties have been imposed on a construction firm and a property management business in relation to their dangerous management of asbestos while a former office block in Stockport was being refurbished.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Swift Property Management MCR Limited had contracted Samer Constructions Ltd to refurbish the Hazel Grove property. On and before 2nd August 2018, materials containing asbestos had been discarded from the premises along with general waste, and were spread across the roof of a one-storey part of the block.

Some of the materials containing the lethal substance had also fallen onto a car park below that had not been segregated from members of the public passing by outside.

build demolition photo

A costly failure of duty

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered through investigation that while an asbestos survey had been carried out on 31st May 2018 – identifying that asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), including licensed ACMs, were present – the results of the survey had not been passed to Samer Constructions Ltd prior to work commencing.

Therefore, not only did Swift Property Management MCR Ltd fail in its duty to pass the survey onto the contractor before the beginning of work, but Samer Constructions Ltd also failed in its own duty to ascertain whether a survey had been undertaken.

As a result, the contractor proceeded with the work in a reckless manner that caused two employees to come into contact with asbestos fibres.

“These risks could so easily have been avoided”

Swift Property Management MCR Ltd of Denison Road, Manchester admitted that it had breached sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. As a consequence, the company was hit with a £25,000 fine, and ordered to pay £3,428 in costs.

Meanwhile, Samer Constructions Ltd of Platt Lane, Manchester also pleaded guilty to breaches of sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. A £12,000 fine was imposed on the company for this, as well as an order to pay costs of £3,428.

HSE Inspector Phil Redman commented after the hearing: “These risks could so easily have been avoided by acting on the findings of the asbestos survey and carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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