The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has fined building firm Nationwide Building Contractors Ltd £4,500 for breach of asbestos regulations for its work during refurbishment to Hall Garth Golf and Country Club, near Darlington.

we solicitors llp (specialists in asbestos claims for mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening) tipped off the HSE to the building firm’s sharp practice after receiving a telephone call from a concerned worker who had suffered asbestos exposure.  The worker had been asked by the building firm to take down a farm building and roof containing large amounts of asbestos.  The worker asked the building firm if the asbestos was dangerous and was told it was not and he should simply break it up by hand and place it in an open skip. 

After a week of following these instructions the worker became anxious and contacted us via our 24hour free helpline.  we solicitors llp advised the asbestos worker to report the incident to the local HSE and refuse to continue working in the dangerous conditions.  The worker was understandably concerned that he would lose his job.

The building firm did not attend the Court hearing but was found guilty of breaching Regulations 5,11 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations between January and March 2008.

When the HSE visited the site they found no adequate checks had been undertaken to ascertain the presence of asbestos and found large amounts of asbestos lagged pipes in walls and floor voids.

The HSE Inspector Victoria Wise said:

“This prosecution should act as a reminder to those in the construction industry, and those in control of the repair and maintenance of buildings, of the importance of ensuring that a suitable and sufficient assessment for asbestos has been carried out and the correct control measures are in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is prevented, so far as is reasonably practicable”

The company concerned has now been placed in liquidation.

Steven Evans, Managing Partner at we solicitors says

“This is only one of a number of cases we have received where unscrupulous employers are willing to risk their workers lives by cutting corners, this is a particular worry now due to the economic downturn.”

 If anyone has a similar experience or wishes to discuss an asbestos claim please contact us immediately on our freephone number 0800 294 3065, and we will be happy to assist.