Asbestos Failures lead to fines of more than £1,000,000

Once more, a large fine is imposed on companies that fail to manage the health risks to their workers (and others) from potential exposure to asbestos properly. Asbestos failures mean that three companies have together been fined more than £1,000,000 after workers were exposed to asbestos while refurbishing a school in Waltham Forest. The Southwark Crown Court heard that in July 2012 a worker removed part of a suspended ceiling in one of the ground floor refurbished rooms at St Mary’s school and identified suspect asbestos containing materials. Asbestos fibres were subsequently found in numerous areas in the school.

During the trial, the court heard the London Borough of Waltham Forest had a contract with NPS London Limited to manage development and refurbishment of its estate. At the time of the incident, the principal contractor for the work was Mansell Construction Services (now known as Balfour Beatty) and the subcontractor was Squibb Group Limited. The HSE investigation found that although an asbestos survey had been carried out, there were multiple caveats and disclaimers in the survey that were not appropriately checked.

Balfour Beatty Regional Construction Limited (previously Mansell Construction Services Limited) of Canary Wharf, London was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,364.84 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  NPS London Limited, of Business Park Norwich, Norfolk was fined £370,000 and ordered to pay £32,364.84 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Squibb Group Limited, of Stanford Le Hope, Essex was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £175,000 after being found guilty after a trial of a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Robinson said: The principal contractor and contractors on site did not review the survey report in detail, and did not take into consideration the multitude of caveats.

The principal contractor and contractors on site did not review the survey report in detail, and did not take into consideration the multitude of caveats.

The principal contractor and contractors on site did not review the survey report in detail, and did not take into consideration the multitude of caveats.

Therefore the work undertaken did not adopt the high standards of control expected for working where there was the potential to expose workers to asbestos.