Fines for construction companies that failed to notify workers of asbestos

Published:  25 August, 2015

A construction management company and the director of a construction company have been fined for serious safety failings after employees were exposed to asbestos despite a survey having already identified the material's presence.

Three Cowen Builders workers were exposed to asbestos over several days after carrying out work on a construction site at Kensington Church Street, London, following the disturbance of the material.

In May 2013, Cowen Builders of Chelmsford had been contracted by Paragon Management UK to carry out work at the premises. Prior to this work asbestos had been identified in a survey by Paragon, but the company failed to provide details of the survey to Cowen Builders before the work started.

Cowen Builders in turn 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. The company was also ordered to pay compensation to each of the three workers exposed to asbestos.

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.