A contractor from the north west has been sentenced after numerous breaches of UK health and safety and UK asbestos law.
Peter Walling’s company had been contracted to demolish and clear the land of a former medical centre in Blackburn. Mr Walling potentially exposed workers when he removed ACM’s before an asbestos survey took place.
Blackpool Magistrates’ Court also heard, that in four separate incidents, an excavator operated by Mr Walling, damaged underground cables and a substation, causing loss of electricity supplies to the surrounding area and repair costs of £49,000 for the electricity supplier.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Walling had not ensured all services had been disconnected before starting work, and had ignored warning issued by Electricity North West to stop work, and in fact police had to attend the scene to prevent Mr Walling from continuing working dangerously.
Peter Walling pleaded guilty to Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. and was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work, received a ten-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay costs of £7,000.
These incidents could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Mr Walling recklessly failed to heed warnings and advice and put not only himself but also others on site at risk of electrocution and risk of exposure to asbestos containing materials.
Contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.
Christine McGlynn, HSE inspector
You can find out more about working safely near underground cables here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/underground.htm