Contractors exposed to asbestos at former nightclub site

A property developer put his workers at risk by failing to identify the presence of asbestos before allowing them to start work on a nightclub in Wrexham.

Michael Murton, 36, of Bewdley, near Kidderminster, instructed contractors to remove sprayed coating containing amosite (brown asbestos) from steel beams while refurbishing the nightclub. The workers were exposed to the deadly substance between 11 and 24 February 2010 at 33-35 Brook Street, Wrexham.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Mr Murton had failed to survey the property before the work started. This led to the unlicensed and uncontrolled removal of the asbestos-containing material and its subsequent spread in and around the building.

Michael Murton, of Bewdley, near Kidderminster previously pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5, 8(1), 11(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 at Mold Magistrates Court.

He also pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to Regulation 19 of the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005, two duty of care offences contrary to Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of treating and disposing of asbestos in a manner likely to cause harm to human health or pollution of the environment contrary to Section 33 (1)(c) Environmental Protection Act 1990. These charges were brought by the Environment Agency Wales.

At Mold Crown Court today, Murton was given a suspended sentence of eight months for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations. He was also given a 12 month suspended sentence for breaching Section 33 (1)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and eight months suspended sentence for the offence contrary to Regulation 19 of the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005.

Mr Murton was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and to pay costs of £10,000 over two years.

Taken from HSE News