Contractor sentenced after asbestos toilet blunder

Grant Prior 2 years ago
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A contractor has been handed 100 hours community service and ten days Rehabilitation Activity after labourers disturbed asbestos and worked dangerously at height while refurbishing a disused park toilet block.

Southwark Crown Court heard how, in 2019, a charity hired a local contractor, Fahadh Rasheed, to convert a toilet block in Valentines Park, Ilford, into a community meeting centre. The work included replacing the weather-damaged roof.

Rasheed employed unskilled and untrained labourers to undertake this work. The labourers disturbed a significant amount of asbestos insulation board present in the structure, spreading asbestos debris around the site.

The construction work was brought to the attention of the HSE by a member of the public who observed the labourers working on the roof, without scaffolding or other control measures, to prevent them falling from height. The asbestos was later cleaned up by a licensed asbestos removal company.

An HSE investigation found that Rasheed had not carried out a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey before work began. Furthermore, he had not ensured the workers he’d engaged had the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, including asbestos awareness training, to undertake this work.

Previously a jury had found Rasheed guilty of breaching safety regulations. At the sentencing hearing last week he was given a Community Order including 100 hours unpaid work and a 10 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

After the hearing HSE inspector David King said: “This was a case of a contractor completely failing to grasp the importance of planning, managing and monitoring construction work to ensure the health and safety of construction workers.

“Companies and their Directors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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