The owner of a refurbishment company has appeared in front of magistrates for failing to provide employees with asbestos awareness training.
Neil Brown, trading as High View Services, was contracted by North Tyneside Council to make repairs during the refurbishment of a council house in Killingworth in January 2009. An upgraded heating system had been installed at the property and Brown’s firm was repairing surfaces that had been damaged during the installation.
On 6 January 2009, a council employee identified asbestos materials in debris, which had been placed in a wheelie bin outside the property. The HSE was notified and its investigation found that Brown had failed to provide asbestos awareness training for any of his employees who were working inside the property.
HSE inspector Graham Watson told SHP that it was foreseeable that the workers might come across asbestos and Brown should have equipped his employees to recognise the dangers. He said: “Any employer who conducts work, which may result in their employees coming into contact with asbestos, must make sure they receive adequate information, instruction and training to help control not just the risks to themselves but others who may also be exposed.”
Brown appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 5 November and pleaded guilty to breaching reg. 10(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, for failing to provide employees with asbestos awareness training. Owing to his lack of means, magistrates fined him £360 and ordered him to pay the same amount towards costs.
In mitigation, Brown said he had no previous convictions and entered an early guilty plea. He claimed he was not aware that he was legally required to provide asbestos awareness training for his employees, but he has subsequently done so.
Inspector Watson concluded: “Anyone conducting refurbishment work in such buildings, where they are likely to disturb the fabric of the building, must therefore make sure that their employees are properly trained. This includes not only making sure there are arrangements for training new employees but also providing regular refresher training.”
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