2022 current press releases from the HSE (health and Safety Executive) relating to Asbestos

On 24 November 1999, the use of asbestos was banned in the UK. While the ban was the first step to safeguarding communities from the

Asbestos rock

effects of asbestos and getting justice for asbestos victims, unfortunately, the battle is still ongoing.

The following are updates on recent prosecutions relating to the state of the asbestos industry in 2022.

18th February 2022

Asbestos removal company fined for failing to protect workers

An asbestos management company director has been jailed after failures to protect workers from asbestos exposure during a major refurbishment project in Plymouth.

Asbestos the hidden killer 

In February 2017, concerns were raised by workers at Ensure Asbestos Management Limited who believed they were being put in danger whilst carrying out refurbishment work at a department store.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found irregularities in the asbestos surveys and clearance certificates, with some found to be fraudulent. Ensure Asbestos Management Limited had been contracted to carry out an asbestos survey, remove all identified asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from the building and then carry out the initial strip-out of the building before it was refurbished. However, the company was found to have deliberately cut corners in managing the danger of asbestos exposure putting workers at risk.

  • Ensure Asbestos Management Limited of Station Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £100,000 . Because the company is in liquidation, there is no prospect of a payment being made and so no order for costs was made.

Director of Ensure Asbestos Management Billy Hopwood of Swanstead, Basildon, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, immediate concurrent on each charge. He has also been disqualified as a director for five years

Contracts Manager at Ensure Asbestos Management Phillip Hopwood of Churchgate Street, Harlow, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1), 3(1) and 33(1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  His sentencing was adjourned until a later date.

“Ensure Asbestos Management Limited – a previously licensed asbestos removal contractor – failed to work within the law despite having a wealth of knowledge on the risks associated with exposure to asbestos and the necessary training to have done so safely.  They deliberately falsified documents and cut corners.

25th January 2022

Builder prosecuted for exposing employees to asbestos during unsafe removal

Kieran Lynch has been prosecuted after his employees were exposed to asbestos while refurbishing domestic premises in Barnsdale Road, Reading.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Lynch, trading as Lynch and Co, was contracted to carry out a largescale refurbishment for his client who had recently purchased the property from their local council. Prior to the project commencing, the owner of the property informed Mr Lynch that the ceiling boards in the garage contained asbestos.

Mr Lynch instructed two employees, who had no experience in asbestos removal, to take down the boards with no protective measures in place. Once they had taken down the boards, they stored them inside the house for a further three months before they were moved into the front garden to be disposed of. Subsequent examination of these boards identified them as Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) – a high risk product which requires an asbestos removal licence to remove.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Lynch was made aware that asbestos was present in the property, and yet he failed to make adequate enquiries as to where the asbestos was, its type and the condition it was in, prior to carrying out the removal.  He also instructed his employees, who lacked the necessary competence, to carry out the removal with no control measures in place.

Mr Kieran Lynch of 9 Old Barn Close, Emmer Green, Reading pleaded guilty to breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 Regulations 5 (1)(a), 8(1), 11 (1) and received a Community Order for a period of 12 months with a Rehabilitation Requirement of 25 days and Unpaid Work of 100 hours. Mr Lynch was also ordered to pay £5,000 in costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

“Refurbishment work, even in domestic premises, is liable to expose people to asbestos and adequate steps must be taken to find out if asbestos is present.  If so, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure people are not exposed to asbestos fibres.”

24th January 2022

Company sentenced after fatal fall through fragile asbestos roof

A company has been sentenced after an employee of a Powys construction company was fatally injured in Liverpool when he fell six metres through a roof whilst working on a replacement roof project.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that on 22 May 2017, roofer Marius Andrus was completing snagging work on a replacement roof. The worker had accessed a part of the old roof made of fragile asbestos cement sheets, which gave way. He fell through the sheets to the ground below sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the area accessed did not have safety nets fitted and that the employer failed to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce the risk to those working on the roof.

AJM Services (Midlands) Ltd of Llanfihangel, Llanfyllin, Powys pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £51,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andy McGrory said: “This was a tragic incident, which resulted in a needless loss of life and could have easily been avoided by properly planning the work and ensuring appropriate safeguards were in place.

“Those in control of work at height have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, which should include providing clear and comprehensive information for their workers and ensuring that they are adequately supervised.”

Owners of the building Pearsons Glass of Maddrell Street, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, section 3, at an earlier hearing and were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court in February 2021. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,656.

18th January 2022

Directors fined for unlicensed asbestos removal

The managing director and the director of a printing company, have been fined for safety breaches after organising the removal of asbestos insulation board by untrained personnel.

Asbestos the hidden killer

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, between August 2016 and December 2016, Charles Dunn and Jeremy Mills, respectively the managing director and director of D&M Heritage Limited, consented to work taking place at the company’s premises which failed to use adequate measures to prevent the spread of asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company rented space in a warehouse at Red Doles Lane in Huddersfield and had been given notice to leave by the new owners. Prior to leaving, the company agreed to remove some free-standing cupboards. A licensed removal company, who had carried out work previously at the site, had told the directors of D&M Heritage Ltd that the rear of a cupboard was broken and was likely to be asbestos.

The cupboards comprised of doors made with asbestos insulation board (AIB) and the rear of the cupboards also contained AIB. The cupboards were broken up during removal, releasing asbestos fibres. Some pieces were placed in bags, others placed in a nearby skip.

Charles Dunn of Mill Lane, Mixenden, Halifax pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act (due to Reg 11 of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012) and a second charge of breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act (due to Reg 16 of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012). He was fined £916 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

Jeremy Mills of Occupation Road, Linley, Huddersfield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act (due to Reg 11 of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012) and a second charge of breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act (due to Reg 16 of Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012). He was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

“Asbestos is a killer. Companies need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos by themselves both to their employees and others. Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained personnel who understand the risks and know how to control them.”

 

Summit Environmental 

The four recent cases show satisfactory asbestos refurbishment and asbestos demolition surveys are not being undertaken, licenced asbestos

Asbestos survey

Need an asbestos survey or asbestos removal

removal works are not being undertaken by licenced asbestos removal companies, works are being undertake without due care, attention, and planning. The outcome of this is people are being exposed to asbestos needlessly.

Asbestos refurbishment and demolition surveys provide accurate information on the location, amount, and condition of asbestos-containing materials within a property and are a legal requirement prior to starting refurbishment or demolition works.

Licensed asbestos removal contractors with appropriate training, knowledge and insurance are required to undertake asbestos removal works.

If you breech the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, prosecutions can lead to exposure to asbestos, death, and imprisonment. Need advice relating to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, asbestos surveys, asbestos removal and asbestos management. Contact us at

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.