Last reviewed 19 May 2021
A construction company has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos during the refurbishment of a flat.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that between 14 May and 31 August 2018, ASAI Construction Ltd, the Principal Contractor for the project, failed to obtain a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey prior to commencing work on site. During the project ASAI Construction was made aware by a subcontractor that there was asbestos containing material (ACM) within the flat, however, the company allowed work to continue and failed to ensure that the ACMs were removed safely. As a result, several people were exposed to asbestos fibres over a prolonged period.
Investigating Health and Safety Executive officers found that ASAI Construction Ltd failed to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent the people working on site being exposed to asbestos. The company pleaded guilty to breaching s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2837.
Companies are reminded that due to the very specific health risks associated with asbestos, in law there is a specific duty on owners of properties to manage asbestos carefully and failure to do so can lead to prosecution. Once asbestos has been identified in a survey, there is a duty to pass this information on to contractors. Anyone working with asbestos must only undertake the work after putting appropriate control measures, such as enclosing the work area and minimising fibre release at source, in place.