Companies warned to stick to the rules when removing asbestos

A Cradley company

has been convicted of breaching health and safety regulations after failing to follow proper procedures for removing asbestos.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted PW Mills (Cradley) Ltd of Bassett Road, Halesowen over the failings. The company pleaded guilty earlier this year at Walsall Magistrates Court to two counts of breaching regulation 9(1) and one count of breaching regulation 17(b) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. PW Mills (Cradley) Ltd also admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The manager of the company at the time, Roy Anthony Halden of Hillary Crest, Rugeley, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to one count of breaching Section 36(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at the Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday 7 December 2009.

The court heard that the company removed asbestos from industrial units in Crescent Works Industrial Park, Darlaston in December 2007 and January 2008, but did not notify HSE of the work which is required by law. Asbestos debris was left in the work area, and the firm sent another team to clean up the site the following month, again without notifying HSE.

HSE investigating Inspector Mike Ford said:

“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and regulations around its removal are in place for a reason. HSE must be notified of any asbestos removal work being carried out.

“We will not hesitate to take action against companies and individuals who flout the rules.”

Notes to editors
1.PW Mills (Cradley) Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges on 5 May 2009 and was committed to the Crown Court for sentence but subsequently went into receivership. At the Crown Court the case was allowed to “lie on the file” as there was little prospect of any penalty or costs being paid by the company.
2.Roy Halden received a conditional discharge, with no order for costs.
3.Regulation 9(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 states: “Subject to regulation 3(2), an employer shall not undertake any work with asbestos unless he has notified the appropriate office of the enforcing authority in writing of the particulars specified in Schedule 1 at least 14 days before commencing that work or such shorter time before as the enforcing authority may agree.”.
4.Regulation 17(b) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, on completion of works with asbestos, that those parts of the premises where those works with asbestos have been carried out are thoroughly cleaned.”
5.Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health and safety.”
6.Section 36(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “Where the commission by any person of an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions is due to the act or default of some other person, that other person shall be guilty of the offence, and a person may be charged with and convicted of the offence by virtue of this subsection whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.”