A Company Director and his two engineering firms have been sentenced for failing to manage the risk from asbestos to employees within the workplace.

During a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection in 2019, it was discovered that a large quantity of asbestos containing materials (ACM’s), including insulating board, were present at the factory premises in Kidderminster, owned by Kespar Engineering Limited.

asbestos caution smallDuring the time of the inspection the premises was occupied by SDF Automotive Limited who went into administration later that year. Employees of both companies worked at the site on Stourport Road. Peter Gerard Parkes was the sole director of both.

Although the defendants were aware of the presence of asbestos and had previously prepared asbestos management plans, they were not reviewed or updated. Therefore, the HSE investigation identified that the defendants failed to manage the risk from asbestos within the premises. The location and condition of the asbestos on site was not actively monitored and the risk of exposure to the ACM’s were not adequately considered or controlled.

Peter Gerard Parkes pleaded guilty to several counts under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, relating to individual failing in respect to the offences committed by the companies under his control. Parkes was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence, fined £9,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,000.

Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4 (10), 6 (1) and 11 (1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Kespar Engineering Ltd was fined £51,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 and SDF Automotive Limited (in administration) was conditionally discharged for 2 years.

The case was heard at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Reilly, said: “It is important that all duty holders including company directors recognise the importance of actively managing asbestos containing materials in non-domestic premises and ensure that the potential risk to health posed by the materials is controlled. Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers – directors can be personally liable and held to account when these duties are breached.”

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Source: https://press.hse.gov.uk/

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