Asbestos management failures on London project lead to large fines

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Failure to follow the correct asbestos management procedures at a site in London has cost a construction management company and the director of a construction company a total of almost £40,000 in fines and costs.

Asbestos was disturbed during work undertaken at premises in Kensington Church Street in May 2013 and subsequently three workers were exposed to the fibres over the course of several days.

At a hearing in August 2015, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Paragon Management UK Limited contracted Cowen Builders Limited (CBL) to carry out the work.

Paragon had an asbestos survey carried out before the project commenced and the presence of the substance had been correctly identified.

However, it failed to pass the findings on to CBL, which began the job without considering whether or not asbestos would be present.

Asbestos was disturbed during the course of the work and the situation was exacerbated when CBL failed to implement adequate safety measures after it became known that the substance had been disturbed, putting workers at further risk of exposure.

Paragon pleaded guilty to one offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,373. It was also told to pay compensation to the three workers.

Kenneth W Cowen, the sole director of Chelmsford-based Cowen Builders Limited, pleaded guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,373 in costs.

Failure to follow the correct procedures when working with asbestos can result in expensive legal problems, reputational damage and, most seriously of all, put workers and members of the public at risk of developing asbestos-related cancers.

BLS Asbestos is a licensed asbestos contractor which can help you with every step of the process, from an initial survey through to the safe removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials.

For more information about our services or to request a quote, call 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.

Published: 28th August 2015