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BUILDER TURNED ‘BLIND EYE’ TO ASBSTOS AWARENESS

Firm failed to provide workforce with essential information

MP Builders Ltd of London has been fined after it ‘turned a blind eye’ to potential asbestos hazards faced by its workers converting a public house into flats.

Westminster Magistrates heard (8 Oct) that concerns were raised by local people, who were also worried about the risks to passers-by.

HSE visited on 4 March 2013 to check conditions, and enforcement action regarding unsafe work at height and inadequate fire precautions was taken against MP Builders Ltd that day. The firm was also asked to provide information about how they were managing the asbestos risks on site.

HSE heard nothing and revisited on 22 March when an improvement notice was issued requiring provision of training to enable the workforce to identify materials which might contain asbestos and how to deal with the material correctly. The company failed to comply and remained in breach up to the date of the prosecution.

Simple and inexpensive to comply

MP Builders Ltd of Barnet was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephron Baker Holmes said:

“The improvement notice was straightforward. It was simple and inexpensive to comply with, by providing training to employees liable to be exposed to asbestos.

If the company had any doubts or questions, it had ample opportunity to ask them and I would have done all I could to help. Instead it apparently buried its head in the sand.

As well as not meeting the extended deadline, the company continued in its failure to provide any evidence of compliance at any time during more than a year. It seems MP Builders just turned a blind eye to its responsibilities.”

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