Asbestos left to litter work site while debris fell onto pathways…
A construction firm based in Wimbledon has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after they were found to have endangered their own employees and members of the public due to unsafe demolition work.
The company had failed to properly implement a safe working plan during a work project at Wimbledon Chase tube station in February 2011.
The HSE investigated the site after members of the local community notified them of unsafe work practices at the site such as asbestos materials being smashed up and not being safely disposed of, debris falling onto roads and pathways used by pedestrians, and the lack of security at the site despite its proximity to a local school.
After identifying the various safety risks at the site, the HSE served three Enforcement Notices on the construction company leading to the closure of the site until the necessary safety improvements were implemented such as site security and asbestos awareness.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that the company failed to carry out an asbestos survey and didn’t have any plan in place to ensure the demolition work could be carried out in a safe manner. The company also failed to provide the necessary training and supervision to their inexperienced group of employees.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £36,000 in addition to costs of £9159.
HSE Inspector Helen Donnelly commented after the hearing had been concluded:
“Members of the public rightly raised concerns about the unsafe working practices they witnessed at Quintin Avenue, and I applaud them for doing so.
“The construction took a reckless approach to demolition, which could have resulted in a serious incident.
“Construction projects need to properly planned and safely managed by competent personnel using the right procedures and equipment. That clearly didn’t happen here, and I hope lessons have been learned.”
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