An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a construction service company and its sub-contractor, put workers and the public at risk by failing to properly manage the presence of asbestos during the refurbishment of a residential block of flats, between 24 November and 8 December 2009.

The work was carried out in an occupied block of flats in the London Borough of Hackney. During the work, asbestos insulation board was disturbed and removed by the subcontractor who was unlicensed. A previous survey, identifying the presence of asbestos insulation board in a number of the properties, had been provided to the construction service company, but had not been acted upon or passed to their sub-contractors.

The construction service company pleaded guilty and was fined £50,000 at the Old Bailey for breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The sub-contractor pleaded guilty of breaching regulations 5, 8(1) and 11(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 Both companies were fined £50,000 and ordered to pay joint costs of £20,690.

HSE Inspector Dominic Ellis said: “Despite recent high profile campaigns on the dangers of working with asbestos, this case sadly illustrates some companies are still failing to manage the risks robustly. The construction service company had information that asbestos was present, yet neglected to act on it, meaning a licensable asbestos material was removed in an uncontrolled manner.”