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ASBESTOS FAILURE ON CLIENT LED REFURB PROJECT

Client rushed works with unqualified and inexperienced people

A Bolton night club owner has been sentenced after admitting a failure to carry out a survey for asbestos before starting on the refurbishment of a local night club.

Manchester Magistrates’ court heard how UK Night Life Limited and its sole director, Charles John McGrath, undertook the management of a refurbishment project between 1 August and 12 August 2015 on The Level nightclub, Bolton without an experienced contractor in place to manage the site. Up to 20 workers were potentially exposed to asbestos fibres in order for the club to open in time for Fresher’s week and an influx of students to the club.

HSE first became involved in August 2015 following a complaint from the local Council regarding unsafe construction works throughout the site. The regulator issued enforcement notices regarding foreseeable risk of asbestos exposure, a lack of competent site manager, risks of falls from height, unsuitable welfare facilities and inadequate fire safety precautions.

Cost cutting at expense of safety

Charles McGrath, sole director of UK Night Life Limited, of Mawdsley Street, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulations 5(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, and was fined £5,720.00 with costs of £3,535.86.

In his summing up, District Judge Sanders remarked that Mr McGrath had chosen to rush through the works with unqualified and inexperienced people running the site on a day-to-day basis. He went on to say that it was clear that these offences amounted to a ‘degree of cost cutting at the expense of safety’.

HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case:

“The requirement to have a suitable asbestos survey is clear and well known throughout the construction industry. Only by knowing if asbestos is present in any building before works commence can a contractor ensure that people working on their site are not exposed to these deadly fibres.

The cost of an asbestos survey is minimal compared to the legacy facing anyone who worked on this site. They now have to live with the realisation that due to the lack of care taken by Mr McGrath they may face a life shortening disease at some point over the next 30 or more years, from an exposure which was totally preventable.”

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