Fines for Failure to Remove Asbestos
According to an article published by Construction Enquirer this week, a Buckinghamshire care home has been fined after failing to ensure that asbestos was removed from old buildings before demolition work commenced.
A member of the public living in a neighbouring building raised concerns over the unsafe working practices at the former hospital site in Chesham.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors discovered that the former hospital buildings had been partially demolished by a contractor. However, Chesham Care was legally acting as the ‘principal contractor’ and had failed to ensure that asbestos containing materials were removed prior to demolition.
At High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court, Chesham Care revealed that they had failed to appoint a principal contractor or construction design and management co-ordinator in writing. By law this means that they had taken on the associated legal duties and roles of this position but clearly did not have the required knowledge or experience to do so.
HSE inspectors said that the works had been underway for around 3 months and found asbestos containing materials amongst the demolished building debris.
Additionally, Chesham Care had failed to record demolition arrangements in writing, the site was not securely locked and no welfare facilities were present on site. In the opinion of the HSE inspectors, there was also a serious risk of injury from collapse of partially demolished buildings.
Rauf Ahmed, HSE inspector, commented that: “Clients have a key role in safely directing their construction project. Making arrangements effectively at the start of a project can have a positive impact through the various stages to completion. Clients should make informed appointments, such as designers, principal contractors/contractors using competent sources of health and safety from the outset.”
Chesham Care admitted multiple failures of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007. The firm was fined £35,000 and also ordered to pay costs of £1321.60.
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