A Wiltshire based asbestos removal company and one of its Directors have been sentenced after removing licensable asbestos materials in an unsafe manner.
Winchester Crown Court heard that on 8 March 2013 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received a concern from an employee of a construction company hired to demolish the Forresters Respite Centre in Hythe.
Sarum Asbestos Limited (SAL) had been contracted to conduct an asbestos survey and then arrange for the removal of any identified asbestos material before demolition work could begin on site.
An investigation by the HSE found that Sarum Asbestos Ltd had undertaken similar work in other locations and failed to ensure that this work with asbestos was undertaken in a safe manner by competent personnel. They also failed to undertake further testing on these sites to ensure that the asbestos had been removed safely and as a result placed workers at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, as well as putting members of the public at risk.
The investigation also found the company’s Director, Jeremy Uphill, ignored the legal requirements for the licensed removal of asbestos containing material.
Sarum Asbestos Limited of Pound Lane, Charlton All Saints, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to the six charges:
- Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for the work conducted at Forresters Respite Centre. These charges concern risks to their own operatives and members of the public.
- The company also pleaded guilty to the same charges for work conducted at Corsham Police Station.
- Sarum Asbestos Ltd also pleaded guilty of breaching Regulation 11 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for work conducted at Moonfleet Manor, Weymouth, regarding a failure to control personal exposures to asbestos.
- It also admitted the same charge for work conducted at Camberwell Reform Church in London.
At Salisbury Crown Court the company has been fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,000.
Jeremy Uphill of Boyds Road, Pimperne, Dorset also pleaded guilty to the same six charges, and was given a total of six months imprisonment suspended for two years.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Adam Wycherley said:
“Both the company and Director have failed to protect their workers and members of the public on a number of occasions and as a result placed them at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.
“Work with the material the company identified should have been subcontracted to a qualified Licensed asbestos removal company.
“Around 3000 people a year die from asbestos related disease and it is a well-known risk within the construction industry, there is no excuse for putting people at risk when the hazards can be controlled with careful management during work with asbestos containing materials.”