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HSE REFURBISHMENT CAMPAIGN ENDS £750,000 FINE

Contractor fined under CDM after failing to act on asbestos survey

Barroerock Construction Limited has been fined £750,000 after repeated failure to manage the risk from asbestos.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that HSE carried out two investigations of working practices on the construction project in 2013 and 2014 where the company was converting a former office building in Ashford, Kent. The building was known to contain asbestos.

The first investigation arose from an inspection during an HSE refurbishment campaigns. The Court was told that a refurbishment and demolition (R&D) asbestos survey had been carried but the company had failed to act upon the survey results.

This resulted in up to 40 workers being exposed to asbestos during the early demolition phase of the project.

Complaints triggered second investigation

The second investigation culminated in a visit to the site in June 2014 following complaints being made about the health and safety practices at the site.

HSE found that despite engaging a licensed asbestos contractor to remove the remaining asbestos materials, dangerous practices were continuing.

In addition, the company was unable to provide documentation to show that asbestos materials identified in the survey had been correctly removed. When the work on site was halted for the second time about 160 people were working inside the building.

Endemic failure to manage effectively

HSE found that both incidents could have been prevented if the company had in place effective management controls to avoid the risk of exposure to asbestos.

  • Barroerock Construction Limited – of Langley House Park Road, East Finchley, London, pleaded guilty to two offences of breaching Regulation 22 (1) (a) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 at an earlier hearing and was fined £750,000 with an order to pay costs of £14,874.68.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said:

“The company’s failings in this case has put many workers at risk to the exposure of asbestos.

It was clear there was an endemic failure to effectively manage the construction work on the site in a way which ensured that asbestos materials were not disturbed until removed under appropriate conditions.

Failing to prevent the breathing in of asbestos fibres on the site is reckless.”

 

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