Luxury hotel business hit with huge fine for asbestos safety failings

One of Devon’s most successful hospitality businesses faces a fine of hundreds of thousands of pounds for health and safety failings at one of its luxury hotels.

Percy R Brend & Sons (Hoteliers), which trades as Brend Hotels, put the safety and welfare of its employees at risk when it carried out work on The Park Hotel in Barnstaple.

The charges relate to the exposure of employees and non-employees to risks through asbestos.

Guilty pleas were entered on behalf of the firm to two offences.

Between October 1, 2016 and May 22, 2017 the employer failed in its duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees. It failed in relation to the management and renovation of hotel accommodation at The Park Hotel, and the planning management and monitoring of that work to ensure they were not exposed to risks associated with exposure to asbestos containing materials.

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Between the same dates the company failed to ensure those not in its employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

District Judge Jo Matson said she would need time to assess the details of the case before sentencing. She would also need access to the company’s accounts.

The judge said there was nothing she could see in the case which made her think it was suitable for the crown court. She adjourned the case for sentence.

Mr Guy Gosheron, for the Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, said the court had the power to impose an unlimited fine but the HSE would be seeking something in the region of £450,000 before credit for pleas.

The company will be sentenced at Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court on March 27.