Asbestos and all that……

On 27 September 2011, Bournemouth Crown Court sentenced Marks and Spencer plc (MS) and three of its contractors for health and safety offences relating to asbestos removal in the refurbishment of its Reading and Bournemouth stores, following successful prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Court fined:

MS, £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £600,000 for breaches of section 2(1) (duty of employers to protect health and safety of staff) and section 3(1) (duty to members of the public and other workers) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA 1974) in relation to offences at its Reading store in 2006.

Its contractors at the Reading store:

Styles & Wood Limited, £100,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £40,000 costs for breaches of sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA 1974.

PA Realisations Ltd, £200 for breaches of regulation 15 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2675) (CAWR 2002), by failing to minimise the spread of asbestos. (The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (SI 2002/2739) have since replaced the CAWR 2002.

Its contractor at its Bournemouth store, Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd, £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £75,000 for breaches of sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA 1974. Willmott Dixon is applying for permission to appeal against conviction.

Styles & Wood Limited pleaded guilty in January 2010. There was a three month trial of other defendants at Winchester Crown Court, which ended in July 2011.

All offences related to removal of asbestos-containing materials in MS stores were in breach of the standards under the legislation and codes of practice. In particular, HSE alleged that MS did not allocate sufficient time and space for the removal of asbestos-containing materials at its Reading store.

Please contact Clare Magill on 01752 292354 for advice.

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