Company fined for asbestos breaches during bar renovation

A Belfast company has been fined £9,000 after admitting a series of health and safety breaches linked to asbestos being disturbed whilst renovating a bar.

The family-run JDM Property Limited, based on Belfast’s Lisburn Road, was contracted to carry out construction work on the Devenish Complex on Finaghy Road North in February 2014.

However, the company failed to carry out a ‘refurbishment asbestos survey’ prior to the commencement of the refurbishment, and during the renovation work asbestos was disturbed in two separate areas of the premises.

JDM Property Limited admitted a total of three Health and Safety breaches – namely failing to protect non-employees, failing to identify risks and also carrying out work which exposed employees to asbestos.

Fining the company £9,000 and ordering it to pay Prosecution costs of £1,700, Judge Sandra Crawford spoke of the dangers associated with asbestos, and said that whilst it is now banned, it was still present in older buildings.

Defence barrister Eugene Grant QC, who represented JDM Property Limited, said the company – which comprised of three brothers – “somewhat naively thought they were capable … of carrying out the refurbishment themselves” as opposed to bringing in sub-contractors.

The defence barrister also revealed JDM Property Limited believed an previous asbestos management survey done by the previous leasees was a sufficient safety measure but “unfortunately they utterly misread the original report.”