Up to 20 workers at a nightclub could have been exposed to asbestos, Manchester Magistrates’ court heard.
The Bolton club’s owner has been fined more than £5,000 after it was revealed that the workers were potentially exposed to deadly asbestos fibres.
Failed to carry out survey
During the refurbishment of The Level venue, UK Night Life Limited didn’t carry out a survey for asbestos.
The club, and director Charles John McGrath, went ahead with the work in August 2015 without appointing an experienced contractor to manage the site.
Bolton Council became concerned over the unsafe construction works throughout the site and contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The HSE found a “foreseeable risk” of asbestos exposure, along with no competent site manager, risks of falls from height, unsuitable welfare facilities and inadequate fire safety precautions.
Work was rushed
District Judge Sanders says Mr McGrath rushed through the works as he wanted the club to be open for freshers’ week.
He added that the offences amounted to a “degree of cost cutting at the expense of safety”.
Charles McGrath pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulations 5(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. He was fined £5,720.00 with costs of £3,535.86.
No excuse for director’s actions
HSE inspector Matt Greenly said Mr McGrath “totally failed in his duty to protect his workers, subcontractors and anyone else accessing this site from a foreseeable risk of serious harm.
“The requirement to have a suitable asbestos survey is clear and well known throughout the construction industry. Only by knowing if asbestos is present in any building before works commence can a contractor ensure that people working on their site are not exposed to these deadly fibres,” he said.
The cost of an asbestos survey is minimal compared to the legacy facing anyone who worked on this site, he added.
Asbestos-related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: October 19, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown