Residents raise alarm over dangerous demolition site

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Worried local residents reported a demolition contractor after workers were spotted lobbing asbestos debris onto a footpath near a school.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that AA Construction (London) Ltd failed to properly plan the work near Wimbledon Chase tube station in February 2011.

Local residents raised concerns that asbestos materials were being smashed up and littering the site, that debris was dropping from height onto the road and footpath; and that the site was insecure despite its close proximity to a local school.

The HSE served three enforcement notices relating to unsafe practices that forced the site to be closed until urgent improvements were made.

The court heard the company should have carried out an asbestos survey and produced a health and safety plan and a plan of demolition to ensure the buildings came down in a safe manner.

Safe working platforms such as scaffolding could also have been used to prevent people and material from falling or dropping, or buildings could have been demolished remotely.

Asbestos should have been removed intact to prevent the release of fibres, segregated and correctly disposed of, and debris should have been progressively cleared allowing for safe access around the site.

AA Construction also employed inexperienced labourers to carry out demolition and asbestos removal, and did not give them sufficient instruction, training, or supervision.

The Wealdstone based company pleaded guilty to safety breaces and was fined £36,000 with £9159 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Helen Donnelly said: “Members of the public rightly raised concerns about the unsafe working practices they witnessed at Quintin Avenue, and I applaud them for doing so.

“AA Construction (London) Ltd took a reckless approach to demolition, which could have resulted in a serious incident.

“Construction projects need to properly planned and safely managed by competent personnel using the right procedures and equipment. That clearly didn’t happen here, and I hope lessons have been learned.”

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