A court has fined a construction management company and a director of a construction company for serious health and safety failings whilst working on a construction site at Kensington Church Street, London.

The work was carried out by three employees of construction firm Cowen Builders Limited, of Chelmsford which exposed them to asbestos over several days after it was disturbed. As mesothelioma and asbestosis both have long latency periods, it will be several years before it is known whether the exposure will result in ill health for the employees.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that in May 2013, Cowen Builders Limited (CBL) had been contracted by Paragon Management UK Limited (Paragon) to carry out work at the premises. Prior to this work asbestos had been identified in a survey by Paragon.

Paragon failed to provide the details of the survey to CBL prior to the work starting. CBL failed to consider the possibility of asbestos being present and then continued the work without adequate measures in place after it was known the asbestos had been disturbed.

Paragon Management UK Limited, from Austin Friars, London, was fined a total of £20,000, and ordered to pay £2,373 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were also ordered to pay compensation to each of the three workers.

Kenneth W Cowen, sole director of Cowen Building Limited of South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, Essex, was fined £15,000, and ordered to pay £2,373 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

This is just one of many cases reported by the Health and Safety Executive that highlight the essential need to comply with regulations when dealing with asbestos.

If you or a family member have been affected by an asbestos related illness, please contact us on 0800 294 3065 where we will be able to help and advise you in the best way possible.