Developer continually ignored HSE asbestos advice
A property developer has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £100,000 in fines and costs after repeatedly exposing workers to asbestos.
James Roger Carlton, also known as Roger Stephen Parry, was converting a former school on London Road, Retford into a retirement complex.
On 1 March last year, an HSE inspector made a proactive visit to the site as part of a construction safety initiative. An inspector identified the building as likely to contain asbestos and advised Carlton to have an asbestos survey carried out. He was also advised to arrange for a licensed company to remove any asbestos.
Eight days later the Executive received a complaint from a member of the public advising that the asbestos was not being removed properly. When inspectors re-visited the site on 17 May last year, they found building rubble containing asbestos, which had not been disposed of safely. €ﾨ€ﾨA Prohibition Notice was immediately served to Carlton, who was trading as Heathcliff Developments, to stop all work. An order to ‘leave undisturbed’ was also imposed on the piles of contaminated rubble.
The HSE made a third visit to the site on 13 October and found workers breaching the Prohibition Notice. An inspector saw two workers putting asbestos insulation board into a lockable skip and ‘dry sweeping’ the dust, which resulted in large clouds of contaminated dust billowing across the site.
The workers were wearing disposable overalls and facemasks but dust would have contaminated their clothes, and there was no water on site for decontamination purposes.
Work was again stopped until arrangements were made for the safe and proper removal of asbestos materials. HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: “Mr Carlton showed a disregard for the health and safety of his employees and others. Our investigation uncovered a catalogue of serious errors, safety failings, and a general ignorance of the laws around the safe and correct removal of asbestos.
“This was an appalling case of failing to properly plan, manage and resource this project, which led to workers being exposed to risks to their health from asbestos.
“Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home their contaminated clothing.”
Carlton appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on 10 July and pleaded guilty to s33(1)(g) of the HSWA 1974, for contravening an enforcement notice; reg.5(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006; and ten breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
He was given an eight-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years. He was also fined £55,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 towards costs.