The owner of BSN Demolition has received a suspended sentence after failing to adhere to Asbestos Regulations when carrying out demolition works.

Breach of Asbestos Regulations

The work involved the demolition of a former pig shed. The shed had asbestos containing materials in it and the company owner, Barry Patchett, failed to remove the materials before starting the demolition works.

As the asbestos materials were not removed prior to the demolition being carried out, they were broken up across the site. This lead to a risk of asbestos fibres being spread throughout the site, putting employees in danger of inhaling them.

Asbestos removal plan not followed

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It was found that Mr Patchett and employees of BSN Demolition had done the relevant training to remove non-licenced asbestos products and had submitted a plan of the removal works to their client, however, they did not follow the removal plan. They also failed to have a copy of the plan on the premises to be followed during the works.

Suspended sentence and £1,000 fine

Mr Patchett pleaded guilty to breaching a number of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. He received a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

HSE inspector, Stuart Whitesmith, spoke after the hearing; “Asbestos-related disease still kills around 5,000 workers each year.  Asbestos is not just a problem of the past; it can be present today in any building or industrial process plant built or refurbished before the year 2000. In this case, Mr Patchett failed to follow basic safe working practices required by the Regulations.”

Exposure to asbestos is disappointing

It is once again extremely disappointing that companies are still breaching the Asbestos Regulations. Sadly, stories such as this are a regular occurrence and some companies do not appear to be taking the dangers of asbestos seriously.

Exposure to asbestos puts people at risk of developing debilitating asbestos conditions. Whilst heavy, prolonged exposure causes conditions such as asbestosis, it can only take a single incident of asbestos exposure to put someone at risk of developing mesothelioma, an incurable cancer.

Punishment not harsh enough

Although it is encouraging to see the HSE take a company to Court for asbestos failings, a suspended sentence and £1,000 fine is not a very harsh punishment. It is particularly disappointing given that Mr Patchett was aware that asbestos was present, had a plan in place to remove it safely then simply did not follow it.

Stop exposure, stop mesothelioma

Over 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year and the only known way to prevent mesothelioma is to stop exposure to asbestos. It is therefore vital that companies working with asbestos ensure all their employees are fully trained on how to identify, contain and safely remove asbestos.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or 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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