Company and director fined after workers exposed to asbestos

A company and its director have been sentenced after workers were exposed to asbestos and its potential harmful effects.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Eye Track Limited’s site in Stretford, Manchester, and found an uncontrolled spread of asbestos containing materials around the premises.

HSE has recently updated its webpages on asbestos safety and in 2023 launched an awareness campaign, Asbestos and You, which provides tradespeople with information about how to deal with asbestos on a job, and the personal risks from asbestos that still exist across the country today.

Earlier this year, the workplace regulator launched its Asbestos: Your Duty campaign that aims to improve understanding of what the legal duty to manage asbestos involves.

HSE attended the premises on Talbot Road in April 2019 after concerns were raised over workers unsafely working at height during the demolition of a number of units and construction of eight new residential houses.

During the inspection, HSE found significant amounts asbestos-containing materials across the site, mostly large amounts of debris associated with the breakage of asbestos-containing roof sheets from the demolished units. One unit taken down was estimated to contain 100 square metres of asbestos insulation board, 70% of which was demolished by hand and machinery.

A subsequent HSE investigation found the asbestos removal work was carried out under the direct control and instruction of Eye Track Limited director Selcuk Pinarbasi, who was fully aware of the potential dangers of asbestos. Mr Pinarbasi had some months earlier instructed a suitably qualified asbestos surveyor to carry out an asbestos demolition survey which had identified in detail the presence of both licensed and unlicensed materials throughout the site. Mr Pinarbasi was therefore fully aware of the risks the site posed from the presence of asbestos materials on his site prior to any demolition work taking place.

Eye Track Limited, of Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £18,783.61 in costs at Manchester Crown Court on 25 April 2024.

At the same hearing. Selcuk Pinarbasi, of Bankhall Lane, Hale, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(g), by virtue of Section 37(1), of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He received a custodial sentence of 20 weeks, suspended for 12 months. He was also fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,783.61.

HSE inspector Phil Redman said:

This case highlights how such behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Lives were deliberately put at risk as profits were prioritised over safety during the uncontrolled demolition and removal of asbestos containing materials.

Eye Track Limited and its director showed a total disregard for the health, safety and welfare of workers working under their control.