Businessman fined for asbestos failure in industrial building
21 January 2015
A businessman allowed the spread of asbestos in an industrial building by not employing licensed contractors to remove the potentially deadly material, a court has heard.
Peter Rees, the owner of a business unit in Mochdre Business Park, Colwyn Bay, was selling the building to another business when the incident happened in September 2012.
He appeared at Llandudno Magistrates’ Court today after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified clear failings with his management of the material.
The court heard that the company purchasing the unit had commissioned an asbestos survey that showed the presence of a large amount of asbestos insulating board. However, instead of employing a qualified and licensed asbestos removal contractor – as the law requires – Mr Rees used a general contractor, which resulted in asbestos dust being spread inside the building.
A complaint was raised by a licensed contractor and a significant clean-up operation was then required by an authorised contractor.
Peter Rees was fined £8,000 ordered to pay £7,400 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE inspector, Chris Wilcox, speaking after the hearing, said: "The potentially lethal effects of exposure to asbestos are well known. Mr Rees’ failure to use a qualified and licensed company to remove the asbestos led to contamination inside the building. Fortunately, HSE was made aware of the incident before it was reoccupied by the new owners.
"Anyone who owns or has control of non-domestic premises has a legal duty to manage the risk of asbestos in their buildings. When asbestos is removed, it must be done by someone who is trained and competent to do the work.”