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    DEMOLITION FIRM FAILED TO MANAGE ASBESTOS RISK

    Public complaints directed HSE to poorly managed demo project

    Berry Estates Development Limited, of Maidstone has been prosecuted along with director Bernard Berry after failing to carry out work correctly or properly manage asbestos while demolishing an old church in Snodland, Kent.

    Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard that HSE received a complaint from a member of the public about demolition works taking place on the site. On 23 April 2010 inspectors visited and found the majority of the building demolished with debris containing asbestos blocking the pavement.

    demolition plan, method statements or risk assessments could not be produced. It was found that an asbestos survey had not been completed prior to the demolition.  A Prohibition Notice was served preventing any further work on site. After the notice was served an asbestos survey highlighted a number of asbestos containing materials across the site.

    The building debris was falling into pedestrian areas and broken up with an excavator. There was no evidence of employee training, personal protection or respiratory equipment and no plan of work on site. It also revealed no provision to prevent dust spreading during demolition and crushing.

    Survey would have prevented exposure

    Berry Estates Development Limited, of Maidstone, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5, 7 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court today (8 February 2011). It was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391.

    Bernard Berry, director of the company also pleaded guilty to breaching the same regulations. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391.

    David Fussell, HSE Inspector, said:

    “The company failed to take any measures aimed at controlling the workers’ exposure to asbestos and reduce any future incidence of related diseases.

    This is a shocking case as it was foreseeable that a building of this age may have had asbestos-containing materials in the building fabric, as the subsequent survey highlighted.

    If the company had carried out a survey and prepared a plan of work prior to demolition, the risk of exposure to the workers on site or the general public could have been avoided.”

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