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TRIPLE PROSECUTION AFTER ASBESTOS RELEASED IN OFFICE

Series of failings uncovered during refurbishment project in city centre

Two companies and a contractor have been prosecuted after asbestos fibres were released during an office refurbishment project in Birmingham city centre. HSE Inspectors uncovered a “series of failings” during the refurbishment that included upgrading a lift containing asbestos insulating board.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how building owners Evanacre Colmore Row Ltd and project managers Marchment Consulting hired builder Roland Morewood to carry out work over the weekend of 29 January 2010. When lift engineers arrived, they found pieces of asbestos insulating board spread around the lift shaft area and refused to carry on working.

HSE inspectors stopped all workers from going into the building until it had been decontaminated. Air tests taken on several floors of the premises revealed significantly high levels of asbestos fibres, which were also found in several vacuum cleaners.

Asbestos insulating board was found stored in Roland Morewood’s van, which itself was heavily contaminated with raised levels of asbestos fibres in the air. It should have been disposed of by a licensed contractor.

Work done by unlicensed contractor for tenth of cost

Evanacre Colmore Row Ltd, of Cutnall Green, Droitwich, pleaded guilty today to breaching Regulations 11(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs.

Marchment Consulting Ltd, of Droitwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 11(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs.

Roland Morewood, of Hall Green, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 8(1) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £823 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Richard Lockwood said:

“Asbestos is the biggest cause of occupational deaths in the UK, with an estimated 4,000 people dying every year from related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

“Evanacre Colmore Row had an asbestos survey which clearly showed that asbestos was present in the lift. Marchment Consulting, which has expertise in building work, should have known how to deal with asbestos and materials containing its fibres in refurbishment projects.

“These companies decided not to use a licensed contractor to remove the asbestos insulating board but to get the work done over a weekend by an unlicensed contractor for a tenth of the cost. Asbestos fibres were found to be at significant levels and if the alarm had not been raised, it is likely that people working on the refurbishment and office workers would have been breathing these fibres for some time.”

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One Response to “TRIPLE PROSECUTION AFTER ASBESTOS RELEASED IN OFFICE”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 19th OCTOBER 2011 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Mr Roland Morewood – exposure to asbestos fibres: £1,000; […]