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St Albans cinema director fined for asbestos failings

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Failing to have an asbestos survey before beginning work on a refurbishment project has earned the director of a Hertfordshire cinema a fine of more than £11,000.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted James Hannaway, 68, who is the sole director of The Alpha Cinema in St Albans, after he allowed the refurbishment of the derelict building to begin in 2010 without checks being carried out for asbestos.

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard that in April 2012, he arranged for debris to be removed from the demolition site by members of the public over a two-day period.

In early October 2012, an asbestos survey was eventually carried out on the building and identified the presence of asbestos, after the debris had been removed. It also recommended that that no-one should enter the affected areas of the premises.

Despite this, Hannaway was subsequently seen taking people into the building to view the progress of the work.

He pleaded pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, and was fined £11,660 and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs.

It is not known whether asbestos was disturbed during the work but if it was, it is likely that workers and members of the public were exposed to potentially deadly fibres.

HSE Inspector Paul Hoskins said: “HSE takes these potential disturbances very seriously. There are so many companies who fail to carry out the required asbestos checks before work starts on refurbishment and this is one of them. A survey must be carried out to ensure asbestos is identified and removed to prevent inadvertent disturbance.”

The removal of asbestos during a refurbishment can only be carried out by trained workers within strict guidelines to help keep the public and staff safe.

BLS Asbestos is a licensed asbestos removal contractor with vast experience of working on refurbishment projects.

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

Published: 17th December 2015