Construction firm fined £750,000 for asbestos failings
Up to 40 construction workers were exposed to asbestos in the demolition of a Kent office building.
Canterbury Crown Court fined Barroerock Construction Limited £750,000 after repeated asbestos failings at a site in Ashford, Kent where the company was converting a former nine-storey office building into flats.
The case highlights once again how important it is for asbestos removal to be undertaken by experienced companies with sound track records for safe and efficient removal of hazardous materials.
HSE carried out two investigations of working practices at the Kent site in 2013 and 2014, with the first investigation arising from a routine inspection during one of HSE’s refurbishment campaigns.
The Court was told that while a refurbishment and demolition survey had been carried out the company had failed to act upon it, leaving workers exposed to asbestos during the early demolition phase.
Following complaints being made about the health and safety practices at the site, HSE carried out a second investigation.
The company was unable to provide documentation to show that asbestos materials identified in the survey had been correctly removed.
The court heard that the incidents could have been prevented if Barroerock had ensured they had effective management controls in place to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “The company’s failings in this case has put many workers at risk to the exposure of asbestos.
“It was clear there was an endemic failure to effectively manage the construction work on the site in a way which ensured that asbestos materials were not disturbed until removed under appropriate conditions.
“Failing to prevent the breathing in of asbestos fibres on the site is reckless.”
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