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  • Fearghal Harrington

WOODWORKING FIRM AND DIRECTOR FAILED TO CONTROL ASBESTOS RISK

A woodworking company and its director have both been sentenced after failing to assess and control the risks associated with asbestos materials on the firm’s premises.


The company received a £25,000 fine at Bristol Crown Court earlier this month. At the same hearing, the firm’s director Wayne Braund was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.


The court heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had made an unannounced visit to the firm’s workshop on Moravian Road in Bristol on 10 August 2016 and uncovered a series of failings and risks associated with significant quantities of asbestos-containing materials.


The enforcement body found that the asbestos insulating board lining the building was in very poor condition and many panels had extensive damage.


The HSE served enforcement notices, which required the risks to be properly controlled and for a licensed controller to remove the asbestos materials.


Follow-up inquiries noted that Stairs2U (Bristol) and Braund had not carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the materials to determine whether asbestos was present. They had also failed to take relevant action to ensure that any risks associated with the asbestos material were controlled.


The HSE found that Braund and Stairs2U (Bristol) had also fabricated documents to make it appear that a relevant licensed contractor would remove the asbestos materials.


Stairs2U (Bristol), of the Old Bus Depot, Moravian Road, Bristol, pleaded guilty to a charge under regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.


Braund, of Fieldgrove Lane, Bitton, Bristol, pleaded guilty to a charge under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stacey Gamwell said: ‘The risks associated with asbestos-containing materials are well known and advice and guidance is freely available from the 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 licensed asbestos removal contractor under stringent procedures.’


Braund was also prosecuted by the Fire Service for separate offenses and sentenced to an additional 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. For these offenses, he was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.

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