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    PROPERTY MANAGERS FINED WITH CONTRACTOR

    Defendants failed to check for asbestos during soffit replacement works

    A residential property management company and a specialist installation contractor have been fined after a resident raised concerns about soffit replacement work carried out on the guttering on three blocks of flats in London during July 2016.

    Westminster Magistrates heard that the property management company engaged the contractor to replace the soffits on the blocks of flats on a housing estate in Sutton, London.

    HSE investigators found that before instructing the contractor the management company failed to check whether the soffits contained asbestos. The contractor arrangement for the soffits to be analysed and became aware they contained asbestos.

    Proceeded despite awareness

    Despite being aware of the presence of asbestos containing materials the contractor started to remove the soffits without adequate precautions to ensure workers and residents were protected.

    • Squaredeal UPVC & Renewables Limited – of Russington, West Sussesxwas fined a total of £18,500, and ordered to pay £5,607.90 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Regulations 5, 8(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
    • Wildheart Residential Management Limited – of Ewell, Surrey was fined £8,000, and ordered to pay £3000 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

    HSE inspector Fu Lee commented after the hearing:

    “The work risked not only the workers, but also the residents of the flats being exposed to disturbed asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to a number of diseases, including asbestosis or fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs; lung cancer and mesothelioma. These diseases are irreversible, disabling and in most cases eventually fatal.

    The latest statistics show that asbestos related disease cause approximately 3000 deaths a year. All asbestos-related diseases typically take many years to develop after exposure.

    This incident could have been avoided if the companies had taken appropriate action to identify the type of asbestos and engage an appropriately qualified contractor to carry out the work safely.”

     

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