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PRISON SENTENCE AND FINE FOR IGORING HSE NOTICE

Developer showed wilful disregard for asbestos risks

A Nottinghamshire property developer who pleaded guilty to exposing employees to asbestos has been given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay fines and costs of £100,000.

Nottingham Crown Court heard (10/07) that James Roger Carlton (Heathcliff Developments T/A), aged 64, disregarded the presence of asbestos insulation board at the site of a former school in Retford. He knew asbestos material formed part of the pre-fabricated buildings but ignored advice on safe removal.

HSE visited the premises whilst being converted to a retirement complex on 1 March 2012 and advised Mr Carlton on what he needed to do to comply with legislation concerning asbestos removal. Eight days later following a complaint HSE told Mr Carlton, to arrange for surveys to be carried out and for removal by a licensed contractor.

On 17 May HSE found general building rubble containing asbestos and a Prohibition Notice was served with a direction to ‘Leave Undisturbed’ imposed on the piles of contaminated rubble.

When HSE inspectors made a third visit in October 2012 work was proceeding in breach of the Prohibition Notice. Two workers were putting asbestos insulation board into a lockable skip and ‘dry sweeping’ the dust resulting in large clouds of dust billowing across the site.

The court heard that although employees had been wearing disposable overalls and face masks, no other controls were in place so not enough was done to protect them from the risk of exposure. Dust would have contaminated their clothes and there was no water on site to enable decontamination.

The asbestos containing material should have been dampened down and double-bagged in special bags, before being removed by a licensed contractor. High efficiency vacuum cleaners should then have been used to remove smaller pieces of asbestos and dust rather than a broom.

Willful disregard caused catalogue of errors and failings

James Roger Carlton, also known as Roger Stephen Parry, of South Leverton, pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and 10 breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – 12 charges in total – at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced (July 10) to eight months is prison, suspended for two years, for the breach of the Prohibition notice. He was also fined £55,000 and ordered to pay a further £45,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:

“Mr Carlton showed a willful disregard for the health and safety of his employees and others. Our investigation uncovered a catalogue of serious errors, safety failings and a general ignorance of the laws around the safe and correct removal of asbestos.

This was an appalling case of failing to properly plan, manage and resource this project which led to workers being exposed to risks to their health from asbestos.

Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home their contaminated clothing.

Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Building owners and contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure. Mr Carlton failed in that duty by choosing to ignore the dangers”

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