Firm fined £90,000 for asbestos breaches

A contractor has been fined £90,000 for failing to protect workers and the public from asbestos during a renovation job.

Contractors Essay Construction have been fined £90,000 for failing to protect workers and the public from asbestos during a renovation job.

The firm, who did not attend the hearing, was found guilty of breaching three regulations under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The offences, which took place in 2021 during a project to convert a former art shop into housing, forced the temporary closure of a street in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Council officials attended the site and discovered significant amounts of materials containing asbestos at the front and rear of the building and in the street.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector then served notices prohibiting work at the site and blocking public access to the street. A licensed asbestos removal contractor was then appointed to carry out a clean-up operation.

Will Gretton, HSE inspector said: “Asbestos is a class 1 carcinogen which is known to kill around 20 tradesmen each week. Carelessness at this scale, met with a failure to attend court, is unacceptable.

“By failing to take… simple steps, Esskay Construction Ltd put workers and members of the public at risk of being exposed to a substance known to cause fatal illnesses including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.”

He said that the case should remind companies carrying out this type of work “that they have responsibilities when it comes to managing the risks associated with asbestos”.

Nathan Cook, prosecuting on behalf of the HSE, told Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court that the watchdog was informed of asbestos disturbance on 31 August 2021. HSE’s subsequent investigation discovered that Esskay Construction had failed to appoint a competent person to carry out a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey of the premises before carrying out work on the site.

Firm Fined for Asbestos breaches



Esskay Construction then allowed refurbishment to start despite not knowing where the asbestos-containing materials were, which resulted in them being disturbed and potentially exposing workers and members of the public to harmful asbestos fibres.


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