The owner of a former brewery in Staffordshire and a sub-contractor have admitted multiple safety failings during a refurbishment at the site.
In January 2010 a member of the public contacted the HSE to notify it that asbestos had been removed and walled up in the basement of the premises in Station Street, Burton upon Trent.
The HSE visited the site and significant areas of the building had been contaminated during the work. The owner of the site, Optima (Cambridge) Ltd, was the principal contractor for the refurbishment of the building into commercial units. The company sub-contracted self-employed Dominik Jaslowski to act as site manager.
The Executive issued a Direction to Leave Undisturbed to Optima, and a licensed asbestos-removal contractor later cleared more than 27 tonnes of the hazardous substance from the site. The clear-up was completed in June 2010 and the refurbishment work restarted two months later.
On 5 November 2010, the HSE was informed a worker at the site had been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease, after workers had been using the building as overnight accommodation.
The HSE and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service visited the site and found there was no fire-safety risk assessment, inadequate fire alarms and detection systems, escape routes were obstructed, inadequate signage for emergency exits, no emergency lighting, and insufficient evacuation procedures.
During the visit, the HSE also discovered four large holes had been cut into the first and second floors, and there were no adequate measures in place to cover the voids to prevent falls. The company had also failed to monitor the temperature of water systems in the building.
Optima and Jaslowski were each issued two Prohibition Notices, which prevented the building from being used as overnight accommodation and halted further construction work. Optima was also issued an additional Prohibition Notice to prevent the further use of the hot-water system and showers.
Optima (Cambridge) Ltd appeared at Burton upon Trent Magistrates’ Court on 28 March and pleaded guilty to breaching:
s3(1) of the HSWA 1974;
reg.9(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007;
reg.41 of the same Regulations, for failing to provide adequate fire-fighting equipment and fire-detection systems;
reg.6(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, for failing to carry out a risk assessment;
reg.8(1) of the same Regulations, for not holding a licence to remove asbestos;
reg.6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; and
reg.7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, for failing to control exposure to legionella.
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