Construction firm fined over asbestos failures
Posted by Ben Alexander.
The importance of construction safety signs has been highlighted after a construction firm has been fined for failing to manage asbestos while demolishing a church in Kent.
Maidstone Magistrates' Court heard how concern about the work being carried out by Berry Estates Development on the building in the Snodland area of the county was first raised by a member of the public, who contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in April last year.
A visit by inspectors from the regulator found that debris containing asbestos was blocking the pavement on one side and had spilled out onto the pavement on the other side.
No asbestos survey had been carried out prior to the work, site security was insufficient and the firm's principal contractor could not provide a demolition plan or risk assessments when asked.
There was no evidence of employee training, no protection or respiratory equipment and no measures to prevent dust spreading.
Berry Estates Development was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391, and the firm's director, Bernard Berry, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391.
David Fussell, HSE inspector, said the case was "shocking" given it was entirely foreseeable that a building such as a church may have had asbestos-containing materials.
"If the company had carried out a survey and prepared a plan of work prior to demolition, the risk of exposure to the workers onsite or the general public could have been avoided."
The HSE recently announced that a focus on asbestos management will be part of a crackdown on health and safety at industrial estates in County Durham.
RESULTS: 2 PRODUCTS
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