Construction company fined and director sentenced after workers exposed to asbestos

A Manchester based construction company has been fined and its director sentenced to a community order of 200 hours unpaid work after workers disturbed asbestos during a refurbishment project.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard that between May and June 2021, Sal Construction Ltd had been contracted to carry out refurbishment work of student accommodation at Derbyshire House, Upper Brook Street, Manchester.

The project consisted of providing bathrooms for all rooms and constructing two studio flats. Work began by building two show rooms on the ground floor before beginning work on the top floor which was stripped back to brickwork. During this work, asbestos pipe lagging was removed, and debris spread across the site and in and around the skip in the yard area.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this work was carried out by five or six employees under the supervision of Sal Zardooi, the sole director of the company instead of a licenced asbestos removal contractor.

Sal Construction Services Limited of Finney Lane, Heald Green, Cheadle pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,133.45.

Salar Zardooi of Finney Lane, Heald Green, Cheadle pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, by virtue of 37(1) of the Act and was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and to pay costs of £2,007.75.

What does this mean to your business?

Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and directors can be personally liable when these duties are breached: members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety.

No works including refurbishment, demolition or maintenance should be carried out in a property unless a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos is present, the type(s) of asbestos, the types of materials and their condition has been carried out.

These risks could so easily have been avoided by acting on the findings of an asbestos survey and carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

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