National builders’ merchant ordered to pay a £400,000 fine for asbestos failings
Discover the consequences as a national builders’ merchant, faces a £400,000 fine for asbestos negligence. Learn about the court ruling and the measures taken to address the issue, and how H.E.S can help duty holders to comply with their asbestos management duties.
Environmental health officers visited Jewson in North Ormesby in October 2019 after concerns were raised. Middlesbrough Council said a number of damaged asbestos-containing materials were found at the site in Brewsdale Road where fibres had been released. Stark Building Materials, which owns Jewson, apologised “to all concerned”.
Teesside Crown Court heard further investigations revealed that between 2004 and 2019, despite several surveys being carried out, there had been a significant failure to properly inspect and manage asbestos at the premises.
Health risks associated with asbestos mean employers are required by law to carry out surveys which identify, label, remove or manage the product.
Unmanaged Asbestos Hazards
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s head of public protection, said: “If asbestos-containing materials become damaged they can release tiny fibres, which if breathed in or swallowed can lead to serious and potentially fatal illnesses, which can take years to develop.”
“The management of the Jewson site in Middlesbrough had, over a prolonged period, failed in their responsibility to protect their workers and visitors from the risks associated with exposure to asbestos,” she added.
Stark Building pleaded guilty on Jewson’s behalf to a charge of failing to protect the health and safety of employees at the premises, members of the public and contract workers by failing to effectively manage asbestos. It was also ordered to pay £9,664 towards the council’s costs.
Stark Building said a new system for managing asbestos in the workplace – involving a comprehensive digital tracking and monitoring process – had been put in place following the events four years ago. A spokesperson for the company said: “We accept the ruling of the court and the fine received and apologise again to all concerned.
“Earlier this year, we conducted a further review of our processes and procedures across our estate – and are confident that the solutions put in place are now as robust as they should be.” Middlesbrough Council said anyone who had worked at the site or visited it and was concerned about asbestos could contact officers for advice.
H.E.S can help
With extensive experience in asbestos management, if you have any asbestos surveying, or asbestos removal requirements, H.E.S can help. Don’t hesitate to contact our award winning team on 02380 011761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org