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Written by
on 29 October 2012


The public and workers were put at risk due to the activity of a construction firm in Wimbledon. AA Construction were found to be dropping materials and littering the site by concerned local residents. The materials were being dropped onto the paths and the road even though there was a school very close by. The worried residents contacted the Health and Safety Executive who arrived to inspect the site and activities taking place in February 2011. After the inspection AA Construction were given three enforcement notices that ordered the site to be closed and urgent improvements to be made so it could reopen and work could continue.

Asbestos Fragments Caused Dangers to those in the Area

There were many ways in which the firm should have ensured that work was being conducted safely. Firstly an asbestos survey was required as asbestos was present and this was one of the materials that was being dropped dangerously to the ground during the demolition work.  Another necessary action was the creation of a health and safety plan along with planning the demolition work out to make sure that all the materials would be removed and taken down to ground level in a safe fashion.

Along with the actions above the company needed to use safe platforms and scaffolding as this could have prevented the materials falling down to the ground. The scaffolding would have also helped to reduce the risks of workers falling when working at height. There was the option of having the buildings demolished remotely and this would have reduced the risks for the public.

Asbestos Survey Required Before Work Began

The asbestos should have been removed without being broken up. Asbestos fibres are a huge health threat and the debris should have never been scattered on the floor. It is essential that all asbestos is removed safely and if necessary removed with the help of professionals.  Finally Westminster Magistrates court was also told that there were untrained labourers that were actually given the job of demolishing the buildings and removing asbestos.  They did not have the right training or enough supervision adding to the risks to themselves and the public.

AA Construction pleaded guilty and was fined £36,000 for breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act. In addition to the fine they were ordered to pay £9159 in court costs and a £15 surcharge.

Demolition work always has to be planned carefully and precisely to reduce the risks to workers and to the public. An asbestos survey is also required and you can request a survey from health and safety consultants.  The health and safety services are there to avoid problems with the law and to also protect individuals from risks that they face caused by the illegal actions of others.


About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.