Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

December 3, 2015

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Cinema director fined for asbestos management failings

The director of a cinema has been fined after he put workers and members of the public at risk of exposure to asbestos during refurbishment works. Following the removal of debris from the multi-screen cinema, an asbestos survey was carried out which identified it as being present.

James Hannaway, 68, from Berkhampstead, the sole director of The Alpha Cinema (St Albans) Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for allowing the refurbishment to begin in 2010 without proper checks for asbestos.

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard that in April 2012, Mr. Hannaway engaged around 30 members of the public to remove the debris from the demolition work over the course of two days.

An asbestos survey was eventually carried out in early October 2012, which identified the presence of asbestos in the building (after the debris removal), and recommended that no-one entered the affected areas. Despite this, the court was told that Mr. Hannaway was seen taking people into the building to view the ongoing work.

Asbestos had been previously identified in a survey of the building carried out before it was purchased. However, it is not known whether or not asbestos materials were actually disturbed during the refurbishment.

James Hannaway of Waterside, Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. He was fined £11,660 and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Paul Hoskins stated: “HSE takes these potential disturbances very seriously. This is another example of a company failing to carry out the required asbestos checks before refurbishment work starts. A survey is required to ensure asbestos is identified and removed to prevent inadvertent disturbance.”

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