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PROPERTY MANAGER PROSECUTED OVER ASBESTOS FAILURES

Steps not taken to discover whether asbestos was present and risk managed

Mr Richard Hayward (T/A Richard Hayward Properties) has been ordered to pay £32,000 in fines and prosecution costs after failing to properly manage the risks from asbestos at a former factory in Wales. Mr Hayward managed the property on behalf of a company called Guinevere Holdings Limited.

Magistrates heard that he let part of the building in 2007 but it was not until 2008 (when a request to provide an asbestos survey for insurance purposes was made) that the presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) roof tiles and brown and blue asbestos was identified in the premises. HSE investigators found that the poor condition the asbestos created a risk of exposure.

Between 2005 and 2008, when three companies occupied the building, structural work to install a partition wall was completed and contractors carried out electrical works. Those undertaking the work and others were at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Major failing in management procedures

Mr Hayward of Cardiff Bay, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.

HSE inspector Lee Schilling said:

“The dangers of asbestos are well known in the property management industry.

Mr Hayward could have prevented the risk of exposing persons to asbestos if he had simply considered whether or not asbestos was present when he first took over control of the building and, having confirmed its presence, passed on relevant information to those who were liable to disturb it.

For Mr Hayward not to inform relevant persons that asbestos was present demonstrated a major failing in his management procedures at that time.

This prosecution highlights the importance of taking simple, practical steps to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos.”

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