Demolition contractor tracked down by private detectives found guilty
The HSE received a complaint in March 2014 regarding a former Chesham Community Hospital site in Buckinghamshire. Safety inspectors arrived onsite to find a number of failings including the presence of asbestos containing materials among building debris, no written demolition arrangements, and witness accounts of other dangerous practises.
Prohibition and Improvement Notices were served on the contractor and the client. The client Chesham Care Ltd was prosecuted for failings under the CDM Regulations and fined a total amount of £30,000. Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court heard attempts were made by HSE to contact the contractor without avail.
In June 2015 HSE was informed of unsafe working practices at a site in Stevenage, Herts. The HSE inspector attending site found the same contractor in control of workers unsafely dismantling parts of the building to recover recyclables. No risk assessment had been done regarding respiratory exposure to asbestos containing materials. The client told HSE the contractor was working without their knowledge on the site and had alerted the police.
As well as immediate enforcement action being taken on site to control risks, a private investigator was subsequently used to track down the contractor who had failed to respond to HSE. Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court heard Scot Ian Richardson t/a Aztec Demolition was acting as the contractor in control for both projects. After a trial Scot Ian Richardson was found guilty of two breaches of the CDM Regulations 2007, one breach of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and one breach of The Health and Safety at Work Act etc,1974 and was sentenced to four months suspended custodial sentence and 200 hours community service order.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,200. After the hearing, HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed said: “Sole traders who control workers to demolish and dismantle structures must understand their legal obligations. “This is a high risk industry in which poor planning has no place. Family members expect their loved ones to come home in one piece.“Clients have a key role in safely directing construction projects. Effective arrangements at the start can have an amplified positive impact down the various stages to completion, including making informed and competent appointments”