MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Client Prosecuted Under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007

A Client has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £13,000 in costs following failures to appoint a CDM Coordinator (CDM-C), which led to the unsafe removal of asbestos insulation boards at a large independent school in Dorset. The HSE prosecuted Sherborne School and Peter Eldridge, the director of a company responsible for the refurbishment project, after an investigation found they had failed to identify and prevent the risk of asbestos exposure at the school. The HSE investigation found that from the initial design stages in May 2008 right through to undertaking the construction work in July 2009, there was inadequate planning and a failure to carry out a full asbestos survey.

Asbestos insulation boards were removed in an unsafe way, exposing building contractors and a teenage work experience student to asbestos fibres, and leaving them at risk of developing serious and potentially fatal diseases later in life. This was despite the fact that a sample taken from the building in 2008 had identified its presence and asbestos had previously been removed from other parts of the school. An asbestos register was also kept for the school buildings.

The Court heard that neither Sherborne School, as client, nor the Contractor, had appointed a CDM-C for the refurbishment project, despite the Project being notifiable and a requirement for work of this size. The school was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £13,000 in costs while the Director of the construction company, Peter Eldridge, was found guilty of breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act for his neglect as an individual director. He was also found guilty of breaching Regulations 11(3) and 18(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for contributing to the failings of his company, and was fined a total of £10,000 with costs of £6,000.
Info Bite No. 104
July 2012