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CLIENT AND CDM DESIGNER FINED OVER LACK OF COORDINATOR

CDM-C would have prevented asbestos breaches on independent school project

Construction client Sherborne School and Peter Eldridge, a director responsible for the refurbishment project have been ordered to pay almost £90,000 in fines and prosecution costs after unsafe removal of asbestos insulation boards (AIB) led to several people being exposed to asbestos.

AIB was removed in a way which exposed building contractors and a teenage work experience student to asbestos leaving them at risk of developing serious and potentially fatal diseases later in life.

HSE investigators found there was inadequate planning and failure to carry out a full asbestos survey from the initial design stages in May 2008 to start of the construction phase in July 2009. This despite a sample being taken from the building in 2008 which found asbestos in other parts of the school and a an asbestos register kept for the school buildings.

The court heard that Mr Eldridge and the school failed to appoint a Coordinator (CDM-C) for the refurbishment project despite it being a requirement of the CDM Regulations 2007 for a project of such size.

The CDM-C would have ensured a full refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey was completed in advance of construction work. Licensed asbestos contractors could then have been appointed to safely remove it.

Risk easily avoided if competent CDM-C engaged

Sherborne School was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4(8) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 14 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The school was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £13,000 in costs.

Peter Eldridge, of Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset, was found guilty by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act for his neglect as a director for breaches of designer Regulations 11(3) and 18(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for contributing to the failings of his company. He was fined a total of £10,000 with costs of £6,000.

  • CDM 2007 Regulation 14 covers the appointment of a CDM co-ordinator;
  • CDM 2007 Regulation 11(3) states: “every designer shall in preparing or modifying a design which may be used in construction work in Great Britain avoid foreseeable risks to the health and safety of any person”;
  • CDM 2007 Regulation 18(1) states: “where a project is notifiable, no designer shall commence work (other than initial design work) in relation to the project unless a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed for the project.”

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Joanna Teasdale, said:

“Both Peter Eldridge and Sherborne School knew about the risks posed by the presence of asbestos in the school buildings, and yet they failed to manage the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres during the refurbishment project.

As a result several people, including at least one teenager, were put at unnecessary risk. In being exposed to asbestos fibres they could develop a serious and potentially fatal illness.

Although Sherborne School was the client, it still had a duty to manage the control of asbestos on its site, and to be aware of the requirements of removing asbestos safely.

This incident and the risk to those involved could have been easily avoided if competent people had been engaged during the planning of the refurbishment project to advise the school, such as a CDM coordinator.”

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One Response to “CLIENT AND CDM DESIGNER FINED OVER LACK OF COORDINATOR”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 19th SEPTEMBER 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] CLIENT AND CDM DESIGNER FINED OVER LACK OF COORDINATOR […]