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Redditch Firm Fined After Workers Exposed to Asbestos
Posted by David Cant on March 2, 2012

Twenty people have been exposed to the dangers caused from being exposed to asbestos fibres. The Health and Safety Executive have prosecuted a Redditch freight company and the managing director of the firm along with a contractor from Birmingham as workers now face the possibility of potentially deadly lung disease.

Licence is Required to Safely Remove Asbestos

Simon Poole, the managing director of Avon Freight Group and Ronald McPhee were prosecuted at Worcester Crown Court after the site they were working on, the storage centre and headquarters for AFG, was found to have been working on asbestos without the correct license to do so.

AFG had instructed their architects to carry out an asbestos survey and they discovered that the deadly material was present on site. The asbestos was found in many of the partition walls of part of a building which needed to be demolished so the new storage and headquarters could be built in their place.  After the survey three quotes were sought by licenced contractors who would have removed and disposed of the asbestos correctly.

Health and Safety Consultants Can Help with Asbestos Surveys

However, Simon Poole, the director of the Avon Freight Group asked his contractor, the builder Ronald McPhee to carry out the removal of the asbestos. He did not have the correct licences required but he carried out his orders regardless.  Mr McPhee and two fellow workers on the site removed approximately 1.5 tonnes of insulation boards which contained asbestos. They disposed of the waste in the same way as asbestos cement which can be removed off without the need for a licence.

Five months after the insulating boards were removed two other companies were contracted to remove some of the remaining parts of the old building. They found some of insulation boards with the asbestos in which were still attached to screws in the walls. They immediately contacted the HSE and they inspectors came to investigate.

Huge Fines for Using Unlicensed Asbestos Removers

After inspecting the site the HSE discovered that around twenty people had been exposed to the fibres of asbestos. This included a tenant, workers for AFG and several of the contractors working on the project over a five month period.  The investigation found that the asbestos was not removed by a licenced contractor and that the disposal was not appropriate.

Despite receiving the quotes from licenced contractors AFG gave the job to Mr McPhee. Now 20 people are living knowing that they could become gravely and even terminally ill due to inhaling asbestos fibres. Mr McPhee pleaded guilty and was fined £2,500 plus £500 in costs. AFG also pleaded guilty and have been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £26,147 in costs. Mr Poole pleaded guilty and has also been fined £30,000 plus £26,147 in costs.

Never Mess with Asbestos

If you are going to carry out any maintenance work in a property an asbestos survey can be supplied by health and safety consultants. Find out more about health and safety services relating to asbestos by calling 0800 1488 677 today.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Asbestos Surveys, Health and Safety Regulations, Health and Safety Services, Health and Safety Training

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