Construction firm with enforcement track record fined for unsafe asbestos removal

Posted: 2019-06-06

A construction company that failed to ensure specialist contractors were used to carry out asbestos removal work in a mill before its demolition has been fined £170,000.
The firmís former director has also been prosecuted and handed a £6,500 fine for failing to follow the correct safety procedures and putting workers at risk.

Greater Manchester Magistratesí Court was told how Sherwood Homes was the client responsible for overseeing the demolition of Crowton Mill in Northwich, Cheshire in February 2017. Peter Kiely had been the firmís director when the results of an asbestos survey conducted the previous month were received and identified the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on the site.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the housebuilder did not use specialist contractors to remove the hazardous material. The regulator had not received a notification from Sherwood Homes to remove asbestos at the mill.

The Stockport, Greater Manchester-based firm also failed to provide the HSE with any details on how the ACMs were removed and how they were disposed of.

The extra work that was required to remove the asbestos increased the estimated costs and timescale for the completion of the demolition work, the court was told.

The HSE had taken previous enforcement action against the housebuilder, including a prosecution in 2018 in relation to its role as a construction client.

Last July, the district judge at Manchester and Salford Magistratesí Court agreed to hear the case in absentia when Sherwood Homes did not attend the hearing.

The company was fined £76,000 for a series of failings at two sites in Preston, Lancashire and Tarporley, Cheshire. The prosecution had been brought after the HSE had carried out nine inspections at four Sherwood Homes construction sites since early 2014, which resulted in the serving of 16 enforcement notices and nine notices of contravention.

In the latest prosecution, Sherwood Homes was found guilty of breaching reg 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and must also pay £10,406 costs

Kiely pleaded guilty to breaching s 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to Sherwood Homesí failing of reg 4(1) of CDM 2015. He must also pay £7,000 costs.