Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Suspended Prison Sentence over Asbestos Dangers
Posted by David Cant on April 6, 2011

According to the BBC a property developer pleaded to the chargers brought against him for irresponsibly ordering the unsafe removal of asbestos from one of the buildings he was renovating.  Michael Murton admitted his guilt at Mold Crown Court.  The asbestos was located in an old disused nightclub in Wrexham named Scott’s which Mr Murton was hoping to turn the club into three bars.

The Health and Safety Executive investigating the case stated that this was a serious incident.  The workers who were in contact with the hazardous material will have to wait for many years to discover if their health has been affected by the actions of Mr Murton.

Employees and the Public at Risk from Asbestos

During the work the men had been scrapping off the material and then throwing it down a plastic tube to a skip which was below.  The court heard how the asbestos levels were very high both inside the old building, and outside.

Not only were the workers at high risk from this toxic waste, the public in the vicinity were also.  Judge Philip Hughes did not suspect the actions were taken purely to save on costs, he accepted Mr Murton was unaware of the asbestos being present.  Judge Hughes said that this was a case of ignorance.

Mr Murton was given a 12 month prison sentence which is suspended for 18 months.  In addition to this Mr Murton will have to pay the court £10,000 in costs.

One of the Worst Cases of Asbestos

After being alerted of the dangers, the HSE discovered that the levels of fibre present were around 10,000 times more than the accepted limit.  In order to clean up the asbestos specialists were called in.  AT a cost of £200,000 the specialists had to make sure the site was safe and sealed off.  To remove the remaining asbestos will cost an extra £70,000. The contractors who worked to make the site safe said that the asbestos contamination was one of the worst that he had seen.

During the sentencing the court were told that the incident could have been avoided.  There were a total of seven workers who had been exposed to the asbestos, which included Mr Murton.  One of the employees said that there was so much dust that sometimes he was unable to see his hand in front of his face.  The same man told the court how he would simply blow the dust off the window.

An asbestos survey can mean the all the difference to maintaining a safe working environment.  Hazards such as this case can be avoided by knowing if and where asbestos is present in your building or premises.  To find out more about our asbestos survey services call 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: Workplace Safety

Follow all of the latest Veritas Consulting news on our RSS feed

Twitter: Veritas_Tweets