Asbestos Exposure Leads to Landlord Prosecution

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Workers being exposed to asbestos fibres from panels at a rented property has led to the double prosecution of a buy to let landlord and building contractor.

During demolition of a conservatory at a rented property in Selly Oak, Birmingham, asbestos fibres were released leading to workers being exposed to the dangerous fibres.

Following the incident, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against landlord Wah Kei Dany Ng of Penns Lane, Sutton Coldfield and building contractor Jasvir Singh Sangha of Tunnel Road, West Bromwich for exposing the workers to asbestos.

The prosecution took place at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, where the court heard that the landlord commissioned a building contractor to replace a conservatory containing the panels at the rented house in August 2017.

During demolition of the original conservatory, asbestos was spread as the panels were removed in a haphazard and uncontained way, contrary to regulations for the removal of asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the landlord should have had an asbestos survey carried out prior to work beginning, and the building contractor should not have started work without one.

The landlord was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay costs of £607 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The building contractor also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work as well as being ordered to pay costs of £596.

Inhalation of the fibres which are spread when asbestos is broken up can lead to a form of lung cancer called asbestosis.

Following the successful prosecution, HSE inspector Gareth Langston commented: ‘Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to any construction work which disturbs the fabric of a structure.’