Building owner and sub-contractor in court over unsafe removal of asbestos
The building owner and sub-contractor of a former Burton upon Trent brewery has been prosecuted after a catalogue of safety failings was uncovered, one of which was surrounding the unsafe asbestos removal during a refurbishment project.
During the hearing at Burton Upon Trent Magistrates, HSE said they had received a complaint in January 2010 from a member of public. Stating that material containing asbestos had been removed from the building and walled up in the basement. HSE discovered a significant area of the building was contaminated. A licensed asbestos removal contractor consequently dealt with 27 tonnes of dangerous materials at the site.
HSE issued a Prohibition Notice halting all work and a Direction to Leave Undisturbed against Optima (Cambridge) Ltd on 29 January 2010.
Three prohibition notices were served against Optima (Cambridge) Limited and two against Dominik Jaslowski . One of which, was the prevention of any further construction work within the building.
Optima (Cambridge) Ltd, of St Saviours Wharf, Mill Street, Southwark, London, pleaded guilty to a list of breaches, including:
Regulations 6(1), and 8(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, for failing to carry out a risk assessment and failing to hold a license for the removal of asbestos
On Thursday 28 March the company was fined a total of £63,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,000. Dominik Jaslowski, pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Regulations for failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work.
He was handed a three month prison sentence for each offence, to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £3,500.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Brassington said:
“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, accounting for around 4500 fatalities a year. Building owners and contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure. Optima (Cambridge) Ltd failed in that duty by showing a shocking disregard for the dangers of this hidden killer”.