Companies fined for failing to manage asbestos safely

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We recently heard about a case of a construction company and a property management company being fined thousands of pounds after they failed to manage asbestos safely during the refurbishment of a former office block in Stockport.

Last month, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard Samer Constructions Limited had been contracted by Swift Property Management MCR Ltd to refurbish a property in Hazel Grove, 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.

An HSE investigation found an asbestos survey carried out on 31 May 2018 identified the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) including licensed ACMs, but this had not been passed to Samer Constructions Ltd prior to work being carried out.

Swift Property Management MCR Ltd failed in its duty to pass the survey onto the contractor prior to work commencing. Samer Constructions Limited 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.

Swift Property Management Limited, of Denison Road, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,428.

Samer Constructions Limited of Platt Lane, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,428.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Phil Redman said: “These risks could so easily have been avoided by acting on the findings of the asbestos survey and carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Here, at Acorn Analytical Services we are accredited to offer the three different types of asbestos surveys which are detailed in the current HSE guide HSG 264 Asbestos: The Survey Guide: the Asbestos Management Survey, Asbestos Refurbishment Survey and the Asbestos Demolition Survey.

Our team is experienced in surveying a range of different types of premises, including shops, warehouses, offices, hospitals and schools. We’re an independent and impartial UKAS accredited asbestos surveying company with no links or affiliations to asbestos removal contractors. This puts us in a unique position to only ever provide you with ‘best practice’ advice that’s right for you.

Therefore, you can be confident that the advice and recommendations you’ll receive from us in your asbestos survey report will always be in your best interest and never influenced by third parties.

All of our surveys are completed using the latest data collection software ensuring all of your asbestos information is recorded accurately and securely and we guarantee you’ll receive your completed report within five working days – although faster times are available, including same day.

All our asbestos surveys also come with free access to your own live, secure and encrypted, asbestos portal. This gives clients 24/7 access to their asbestos data and reports whenever they want, to whoever they want – they’re always in control.

It is not a legal requirement to have an asbestos management survey. However, it is a legal requirement to ‘manage asbestos’ in all non-domestic premises and asbestos management surveys have an important role in assisting you with safely managing the asbestos within your building.

Asbestos management surveys are usually considered the first step towards managing asbestos. To effectively manage your asbestos and prevent people from damaging or disturbing it, you first need to know where it is, what extent it is and what condition it is in. An asbestos survey will provide this information.

We’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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