Dover Property Developer Fined after Failing Asbestos Regulations

Yet another story from the HSE demostrating a mans disregard for Asbestos Regulations.

A Kent-based partner of a development company has been prosecuted after dangerous conditions were found at a demolition site in Dover.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Allan Smith for failing to undertake an asbestos assessment and for not securing a demolition site.

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court heard on 19 April 2010 that the Royal Oak Public House, Sandwich Road, Whitfield, Dover, was purchased for development. Over the next six months, Mr Smith from ATS Developments acted as the principal contractor to demolish the building.

On 4 October 2010, HSE was contacted by a member of the public who complained that the site was insecure and children were playing on the building site. An HSE inspector visited on 7 October 2010 to find the pub partially demolished and the site unfenced, despite there being a public footpath running across the land.

The HSE investigation found that no asbestos survey had been carried out prior to demolition, which remained the case even after HSE sent a letter to the partners stating that a survey needed to be undertaken. An Improvement Notice was served on 8 October 2010 about site security.

After the hearing, HSE’s Inspector Caroline Penwill said:

“Mr Smith did not think about the risks he may have exposed his workers and members of the public to by cutting corners.

“Before anyone undertakes any demolition works they must consider whether asbestos is present and take precautionary steps such as carrying out an asbestos survey.

“The site was also very unsecure and exposed local children to the hazards of a building site. What makes this case all the more disappointing is that Mr Smith continued to work after the HSE advised him to undertake an asbestos survey.

Allan Smith, from Bowling Green Lane, Deal, Kent, pleaded guilty to Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 27(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

Notes to editors

The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 states: “An employer shall not undertake work in demolition, maintenance, or any other work which exposes or is liable to expose his employees to asbestos in respect of any premises unless either he has carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos, what type of asbestos, contained in what material and in what condition is present or is liable to be present in those premises; or (b)if there is doubt as to whether asbestos is present in those premises he assumes that asbestos is present, and that it is not chrysotile alone, and observes the applicable provisions of these Regulations.”
Regulation 27(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 states: “Where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the level of risk posed, either have its perimeter identified by suitable signs and be so arranged that its extent is readily identifiable; or be fenced off or both.”