Last month, Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how a construction company breached regulations, failing to keep their site safe from asbestos.

The demolition job

Sherwood Homes Limited was carrying out demolition work at Crowton Mill, Northwich and had obtained an asbestos survey in January 2017. The results of the survey showed that there were asbestos containing materials onsite.

The breach

The asbestos containing materials needed to be removed by suitable contractors and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should have been notified that asbestos needed to be removed from the site. This was not done and the HSE did not receive any information about how the materials were removed or disposed of.

The company

This is not the only time Sherwood Homes Limited has been pulled up on their work. They were prosecuted in 2018 in relation to their role as a construction client.

The verdict

The company was found guilty of breaking regulations and fined £170,000. They were also ordered to pay costs of over £10,000.

It was not just the company who was prosecuted, company director, Peter Kiely pleaded guilty to breaching regulations and was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

HSE’s response

Following the hearing HSE Inspector, David Norton, said; “Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air. Asbestos should only be removed by specialist contractors. Sherwood Homes Ltd and Peter Kiely put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Our view

It is disappointing to see yet another company not taking the health and safety of their employees seriously. In this case, the company seems to have started out with good intentions by obtaining an asbestos report but then failed to act upon this, resulting in the HSE’s intervention.

The HSE’s response to this breach of regulations is suitably harsh and we hope that this will deter other companies and those in charge from cutting corners and putting their workers at risk of developing diseases due to asbestos dust exposure.

Exposure to asbestos puts people at risk of developing devastating asbestos conditions, including mesothelioma – the incurable asbestos cancer. No company should put a price on employees’ wellbeing and cutting corners where asbestos removal is concerned is simply unacceptable.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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