Following a reported concern regarding unsafe construction work, a former department store was found to have disturbed asbestos containing materials (ACMs) while demolition work was in progress, resulting in two former company directors being sentenced and fined.

joplings department store 18th march 2005An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was undertaken, following a report regarding unsafe construction work at the former Joplings department store. The age of the building and previous refurbishment work meant that there were vast amounts of ACMs inside the building. Several months of demolition and refurbishment work, where ACMs had been broken up using brute force and sledgehammers, resulted in asbestos fibres being spread across 5 floors of the building as well as outside of the city centre property.

Former directors of Keebar Construction, Alan Barraclough, of Hutton Lane, Guisborough and James Keegan of Larkspur Road, Middlesborough were both found guilty of breaching two counts of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc. They both received a 14-month sentence, suspended for 2 years, and have been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community work within 12 months. Alan and James were also both suspended as directors for 10 years and ordered to pay costs of £44,774.21.

What does this mean for you?

As demonstrated above, failure to effectively manage asbestos will lead to action from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). If the premises you own or manage, whether it be an office, shop, factory or school was constructed prior to the year 2000, you need to be aware of your legal responsibilities as a duty holder under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

This includes knowing if asbestos is present and how to manage the associated risks, as asbestos containing materials can be found in various places within a building, including: pipe lagging, insulation board, vinyl floor tiles, cement products and more. Being aware of where asbestos can be found ensures that employees and non-employees are not exposed to health risks because of its presence.

The following legal duties are covered in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015:

  • Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) can be located through an asbestos survey, assessing the amount and condition of the materials. It’s important that this information is recorded, referred to as an asbestos register and kept up to date.
  • The duty holder will need to produce a management plan with details of how the risks from asbestos will be managed.
  • If ACMs need to be removed, the client needs to appoint a competent asbestos removal contractor.
  • After removal work has been completed, an analyst will need to verity that the area has been thoroughly cleaned prior to handover for re-occupation or demolition work.

How We Can Help You

Bradley Environmental is one of the leading Asbestos Consultants in the UK offering a range of Asbestos Risk Management and Removal Services. We advise our clients on the most efficient and economically advantageous way to manage asbestos, without compromising on safety issues.

For more information on the services we provide, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0121 550 0224.

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