Last reviewed 22 February 2021
Samer Constructions Ltd and Swift Property Management MCR Ltd have both been fined after failing to manage asbestos safely during a refurbishment of a former office block in Stockport.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how the construction company had been contracted to refurbish a property in Stockport. Materials containing asbestos along with general waste had been discarded from the property, on and before 2 August 2018, and were spread across the roof of a one storey part of the block. Some of the materials had also fallen onto a car park area below that was not segregated from passing members of the public.
Investigating Health and Safety Executive officers found that an asbestos survey carried out earlier that year had identified the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) including licensed ACMs, but this information had not been passed to Samer Constructions prior to work being carried out.
Swift Property Management MCR thus failed in its duty to pass the survey onto the contractor prior to work commencing. Samer Constructions, meanwhile, failed in its duty to identify whether a survey had been undertaken and went ahead with the work in a reckless manner resulting in two employees being exposed to asbestos fibres.
Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching ss.2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and were given substantial fines.
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.