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Latest asbestos case is wake-up call for property owners and tenants

11th July 2019

Latest asbestos case is wake-up call for property owners and tenants

A leading property lawyer says that a recent case involving an NHS Trust should act as a wake-up call for property owners and their tenants undertaking maintenance works.

Jen Hicks-Jones, an associate in Higgs & Sons’ property team said the case of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, which was decided recently at Telford Magistrates Court, highlights important obligations of property owners and tenants under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR).

“In June 2012, workers at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital were removing fixtures and fittings in part of the hospital when they disturbed asbestos-containing materials,” explains Jen.

“The NHS Trust in charge of the hospital failed to take adequate measures to deal with the initial release of asbestos and exposed other contractors who later worked in the contaminated area of the hospital. The Trust is considered a duty holder and should have followed their ongoing obligations to maintain and monitor the situation.   

“The Trust pleaded guilty at the hearing in May 2019 to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.80.” 

Jen believes that the case is another reminder to anyone in control of the repair and maintenance of non-domestic premises of the need to ensure that correct control measures are put in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is prevented, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Jen said that failure to comply with the requirements of CAR may result in criminal charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  Explaining, she said: “Summary conviction could include a fine and imprisonment of up to six months.” 

The Health & Safety Executive provides a checklist for dutyholders so that they can comply with CAR and the process of managing the risk from asbestos further.  The checklist can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg223.pdf

Jen Hicks Jones can answer any questions you have about your obligations as a landlord or tenant. Jen.hicksjones@higgsandsons.co.uk

 

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