Construction firm fined over £175,000 for unsafe asbestos removal

A construction company and one of its directors have been fined over £170,000 after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos during demolition work, PBC Today has reported.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Sherwood Homes Limited was the client responsible for the demolition of Crowton Mill in Northwich. Peter Kiely was a director of the company when the results of an asbestos survey conducted in January 2017 were received that identified the presence of asbestos containing materials on the site. The extra work required to remove the asbestos increased the estimated costs and timescale for the completion of the demolition.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that Sherwood Homes Limited failed to ensure suitable contractors were used to carry out the asbestos removal work and demolition of the mill in February 2017. No record of a notification to HSE to remove asbestos had been received for the site. No details of how the asbestos containing materials were removed or how they were disposed of were provided to HSE.

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Sherwood Homes Limited had previous enforcement by HSE, including prosecution in 2018 in relation to their role as a construction client.

Sherwood Homes Limited was found guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,406.

Company director Peter Kiely pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, in relation to the company’s failure of regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Peter Kiely was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £700.

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.”