Company Director Jailed for Asbestos Safety Breach at Winchester Student Project

Stephen Davies, 59, director of Cavendish Winchester Ltd, has been sentenced to eight months in jail for exposing workers to asbestos during a refurbishment project in Winchester. Co-director Neil Bolton, 56, received a four-month suspended sentence and was ordered to perform 250 hours of unpaid work.

Cavendish Winchester Ltd, established to convert a commercial unit at Winnall Close into student housing, was fined £30,000. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that in late 2019 and early 2020, approximately ten tonnes of asbestos insulating board (AIB) were removed by unqualified workers unaware of the health risks.

Both directors knew about the asbestos and had previously sought quotes for its legal removal. However, they opted for illegal removal to save costs, endangering their workers and others in the waste removal chain.

Stephen Davies and Neil Bolton pleaded guilty to causing their company to breach health and safety regulations. Davies received an immediate custodial sentence, while Bolton’s sentence was suspended for 12 months. The company was fined £30,000.

HSE principal inspector Steve Hull emphasized the seriousness of the case, noting that the directors prioritized profit over their workers' health despite being aware of the risks. He highlighted the necessity for competent professionals to handle asbestos removal to ensure safety.

This case underscores the importance of adhering to asbestos safety regulations to prevent health hazards.

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