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Sat July 31 2021

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Heavy cost of asbestos breaches

14 Jul A wood working company and its director have been prosecuted after an inspection by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found a series of failings and risks associated with asbestos-containing materials on the premises.

Stairs2U's workshop
Stairs2U's workshop

Charges totalling £100,000 and two suspended prison sentences were handed down by the courts for the breaches of asbestos regulations.

Bristol Crown Court heard that on 10th August 2016, during an unannounced visit to a workshop on Moravian Road, Bristol, the asbestos insulating board lining the building was found to be in a poor condition with many panels badly damaged. Enforcement notices were served requiring the risks to be controlled and the asbestos materials to be removed by a licenced contractor.

Follow-up checks revealed that the company, and its director Wayne Braund, had failed to ensure a suitable and sufficient assessment was carried out to determine whether asbestos was present, and take relevant action to ensure any risks associated with the asbestos materials were controlled.

They also fabricated documents to make it look like the asbestos materials were going to be removed by a licenced contractor.

Stairs2U (Bristol) Limited of The Old Bus Depot, Moravian Road, Bristol pleaded guilty to a charge under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The company was fined £25,000.

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Wayne Braund of Fieldgrove Lane, Bitton, Bristol pleaded guiltyto a charge under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for eighteen months and ordered to pay £25,000 costs.

HSE inspector Stacey Gamwell said after the hearing: “The risks associated with asbestos-containing materials are well known and advice and guidance is freely available from HSE.

“Duty holders are required to manage the risks from asbestos in any non-domestic premises and ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment is undertaken to identify asbestos-containing materials and ensure that any risks are controlled.

“Employers should not undertake any work with asbestos materials which exposes their employees to asbestos unless the risks have been assessed and relevant control measures have been implemented. Work associated with many categories of asbestos materials including those in this case may only be undertaken by a suitably licenced asbestos removal contractor under stringent procedures.”

For separate offences prosecuted by the Fire Service, Mr Braund was sentenced to a further 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs.

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