Bury business owner jailed for exposing workers and public to asbestos……………..A judge at Manchester Magistrates Court has jailed Bury Business owner, David Briggs, of Briggs Demolition, for a total of 24 weeks (6 months) for exposing his workers and the general public to deadly asbestos.
The prison sentence given to the 74 year old comes after his demolition company were employed to demolish the former Oakbank Training Centre in Chadderton near Oldham.
Mr Briggs had initially advised the site owners that they should have an asbestos survey carried out on the building before he and his team began work on the site.
The survey was done and approx 230 square metres of asbestos was subsequently discovered.
Mr Briggs decided to continue with the demolition of the building after the discovery of asbestos, despite the huge risk to himself and others.
The asbestos should have been safely removed beforehand by a professional asbestos removal company.
The HSE were tipped off about the scenario by a concerned member of the public after the demolition work had already began.
They visited the site to follow up on the tip off and halted the demolition work to allow for testing to be carried out.
Tests confirmed that asbestos was present within the building, although Mr Briggs had maintained since the arrival of the HSE investigators that there wasn’t.
Following the hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court, David Briggs pleaded guilty to numerous safety failings.
These included failing to protect the safety of his own employees, the safety of the public, as well as failing to prevent the spread of asbestos.
After the case of the Bury business owner jailed for exposing workers and public to asbestos, Matt Greenly, HSE inspector, said, “Mr Briggs wilfully ignored a professional asbestos survey, instigated by himself, and in doing so failed in his duty to protect his workers and anyone else around this site from a foreseeable risk of serious harm.”
“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 4000 people per year in the UK.”
“It is beyond comprehension that Mr Briggs ensured his client had a sufficient asbestos survey carried out before demolition began and then wilfully ignored its findings thinking he knew better.”
“The reality is that the costs of removing this asbestos properly were saved by Mr Briggs so he could drastically undercut his competitors.”
“This act of putting profit before safety is wholly unacceptable.”
“The legacy facing anyone who worked on this site is immeasurable.”
“They now have to live with the realisation that due to the lack of care taken by Mr Briggs they may face a life shortening disease at some point over the next 30+ years from an exposure which was totally preventable.”
“This case sends a clear message to any individual or company that it does not pay to ignore known risks on site, especially to increase profits at the expense of people’s lives.”
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
Alternatively, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for more information or to book a training course.