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Two firms fined for absestos removal safety breaches

A construction management company and a director of a construction company were fined for serious safety failings while working on a construction site at Kensington Church Street, London.

Work carried out by three employees of construction firm Cowen Builders Limited, of South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, Essex, exposed them to asbestos over several days after it was disturbed.

It will be several years before it is known whether or not the exposure will result in asbestos-related diseases causing ill health and death.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how in May 2013, Cowen Builders Limited (CBL) had been contracted by Paragon Management UK Limited (Paragon), from Austin Friars, London, 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 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.

It was also ordered to pay compensation to each of the three workers.

Kenneth W Cowen, sole director of Cowen Building Limited, 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.

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