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CLIENT CDM 2007 PROSECUTION

Failure to appoint and manage led to CDM breaches and asbestos risk

Construction client Frank Bruce and Company Ltd, of Bristol has been ordered to pay over £25k in fines and prosecutions costs.

The company had organised refurbishment work involving the removal asbestos insulation board without precautions and the required CDM 2007 appointments.

The court heard that HSE inspectors visited industrial units at Lawrence Hill Industrial Park in Bristol during February and March 2009.

Refurbishment work was in progress that led to exposure of the workers to the asbestos and contamination of the units being renovated. 

The court heard the company pleaded guilty to breaches under Regulation 14 of CDM 2007 by failing to appoint a coordinator or principal contractor for the project. 

Breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations were also found in that the client failed to review or implement a plan to manage materials containing asbestos. 

HSE Inspector Sue Adsett said: “The decision not to have large quantities of asbestos insulation board removed by licensed contractors before the general refurbishment work began, put the workers at risk and contaminated the site. 

“The work was stopped and the defendant paid to make the site safe, but this doesn’t change the fact that seven construction workers were exposed to asbestos, which we know can cause fatal diseases.

Landlords and property developers need to be very wary of organising construction work themselves if they haven’t got appropriate experience of managing health and safety in building projects.”

Around 500,000 buildings built before 2000 could contain asbestos, according to HSE estimates. If managed properly and kept in good condition, asbestos need not pose safety concerns.

HSE state that “Landlords need to arrange for ‘Type 3’ surveys to be done before refurbishment or demolition and pass this information on to builders before asking them to start work. Some asbestos products – such as Asbestos Insulation Boards or Asbestos Insulation – can only be removed by specially licensed contractors.”

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