A construction company based in Warrington has been slapped with a £90,000 fine for failing to protect the public from asbestos exposure. The incident occurred during a renovation endeavour in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Although the company did not appear in the Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court on August 24, 2023, they were still convicted in absentia.
Nathan Cook, who represented the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), informed the court that the regulatory body had been alerted to asbestos concerns on August 31, 2021. The alarm was related to a renovation operation under the company’s supervision on Brunswick Street, Hanley.
Local authority officials who visited the location found considerable amounts of debris containing asbestos both at the front and back of the building as well as on public roads. Subsequently, an HSE inspector visited the site and issued two Prohibition Notices. These notices stopped all work and access to the site at 12 Brunswick Street, unless performed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor for the sake of making the area safe. Following this, a licensed contractor was engaged to sanitize the area.
Further inquiries by the HSE revealed that the construction company had neglected to hire a qualified individual to conduct an asbestos survey designed for refurbishment and demolition. Consequently, the firm commenced the renovation work without knowing the whereabouts of asbestos-containing materials. This oversight led to the disturbance of these hazardous materials, posing potential health risks to both the workers and the public.
The incident serves as a critical reminder of the importance of adhering to asbestos safety measures and regulations. Ignoring these crucial steps can not only result in heavy fines but also put public health at significant risk.
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