A CONSTRUCTION company and its director have been fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos during demolition work.

Manchester Magistrates' Court heard how Peter Kiely, aged 48, of Ravenhurst Drive, Lostock, was a director of Stockport-based Sherwood Homes Ltd, which was the client responsible for the demolition of Crowton Mill in Northwich.

But in January 2017 results of an asbestos survey revealed the presence of asbestos containing materials on the site.

Extra work was required to remove the asbestos, increasing the estimated costs and timescale for the completion of the demolition.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Sherwood Homes Ltdd failed to ensure suitable contractors were used to carry out the asbestos removal work and demolition of the mill in February 2017. No record of a notification to HSE to remove asbestos was received for the site. No details of how the asbestos containing materials were removed or how they were disposed were provided.

It was not the first time that Sherwood Homes Ltd has fallen foul of the HSE. They have had previous enforcement taken against them by HSE, including a prosecution in 2018 in relation to their role as a construction client.

At Manchester Magistrates' Court Sherwood Homes Ltd, of Houldsworth Street, Stockport ,was found guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,406.

Company director Peter Kiely pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, in relation to the company’s failing of regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

Following the hearing HSE Inspector David Norton said: “Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air. Asbestos should only be removed by specialist contractors. Sherwood Homes Ltd and Peter Kiely put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”