A complaint from the member of the public has unveiled the safety failings of a Hertfordshire-based contractor.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received a complaint in March 2014 from a member of the public living close to the former Chesham Community Hospital site in Buckinghamshire, concerning activities taking place on the premises.
Catalogue of failings
Inspectors found a catalogue of failings including asbestos containing materials among building debris, demolition arrangements not recorded in writing, unsafe work at height, poor site security and a lack of welfare facilities.
HSE also claims there was also a risk of injury from collapse of partially demolished buildings.
A Prohibition and Improvement Notices was served on both the contractor and client to ensure on-going risks were controlled.
The client, Chesham Care Ltd, was prosecuted for failings under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and fined £30,000.
Second site discovered
Attempts were made by HSE to contact the contractor without avail. In June 2015, an HSE inspector was alerted to unsafe working practices at a site in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
The inspector found the same contractor in control of workers unsafely dismantling parts of the building to recover recyclables. No risk assessment had been done regarding respiratory exposure to asbestos containing materials. The client told HSE the contractor was working without their knowledge on the site and had alerted the police.
As well as immediate enforcement action being taken on site to control risks, a private investigator was subsequently used to track down the contractor who had failed to respond to HSE.
Scot Ian Richardson t/a Aztec Demolition was acting as the contractor in control for both projects. He was found guilty of two breaches of the CDM Regulations 2007, one breach of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and one breach of The Health and Safety at Work Act etc,1974.
He was sentenced to four months suspended custodial sentence and 200 hours community service order. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: April 10, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown