Re-upholstery firm prosecuted for failing to implement a Management Survey of their workplace despite staff concerns

Up to 30 employees over a five year period exposed to asbestos after owner fails to implement required survey

A Rochdale-based re-upholstery firm and company director have been found guilty of asbestos related health and safety breeches and a prohibition notice after workers were exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos fibres.

Mansfield Soft Furnishings Ltd and David Mansfield were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after up to 30 employees over a five year period were exposed to the airborne fibres at Meadowcroft Mill on Bury Road. This was despite staff raising concerns regarding the presence of asbestos.

Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told the company, which refurbishes furniture for pubs, restaurants and hotels, had moved into a unit at the mill in September 2007 and created a mezzanine storage area in the eaves of the roof. Workers put foam for furniture in the storage space, often placing it on the beams and underside of the roof and then dragged the foam through the eaves before throwing it down onto the floor. The subsequent identification of asbestos indicated that this action meant fine layers of asbestos dust were released into the air.

The court heard that the HSE inspector visited the site on a separate Health and Safety issue and noticed the mezzanine floor with suspected asbestos material and issued an improvement notice for a survey to be undertaken which confirmed the material was indeed asbestos. A prohibition notice was then issued but this was breeched when the director and a member of staff entered the building the night to remove furniture for a client.  

Mansfield Soft Furnishings Ltd was fined £30,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers and failing to comply with the Prohibition Notice. David Mansfield, 48, of Northolt Fold in Heywood, was fined £10,000 after admitting that he deliberately breached the Prohibition Notice. In addition, the co-defendants were also ordered to pay joint costs of £20,000.

To view the full article, please see the following link:

HSE WEBSITE

Here at Armco we offer a variety of services to ensure that you operate within the asbestos related law. We implement the all types of surveys whether you are refurbishing the property or just need to identify and manage the asbestos in your workplace, as this article illustrates is required.

 

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Published Mar 12, 2014
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