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Firms prosecuted over asbestos danger at Bolton mill

29-08-2012

A pile of damaged asbestos boards stacked up at a mill in BoltonTwo companies have been prosecuted after workers were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres at a mill in Bolton.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against Hazelwise Ltd. and RH Property Management Ltd. after finding dozens of damaged asbestos boards stacked up at Brownlow Mill during a visit on 20 October 2010.

On 24 August, Manchester Crown Court heard that neither company had put a plan in place to manage the asbestos in the mill on Tennyson Street, where several small businesses rent units.

HSE became aware of the issue when a contractor on the site raised concerns that asbestos insulation boards had been stripped out of unoccupied floors at the mill, releasing potentially deadly asbestos fibres into the air.

Inspectors issued two Prohibition Notices banning the removal of tools and other items from four floors of the mill in case they had become contaminated with asbestos fibres, and preventing access to the floors.

They also found that asbestos was present in other parts of the mill, occupied by tenants, but nothing had been done to protect it and make sure it was safe.

The court was told the letting agent, RH Property Management Ltd., had raised the issue of the lack of an asbestos assessment in 2006 but did not take any further action. The owner of the mill, Hazelwise Ltd., also failed to arrange for an asbestos survey to be carried out.

Both companies pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to ensure the health and safety of people at the mill. Hazelwise also admitted a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 by failing to properly assess the risks from asbestos at the site.

Hazelwise Ltd., of Mauldeth Avenue in Chorlton, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £8,969 in prosecution costs. RH Property Management Ltd., of Greek Street in Stockport, was fined £15,000 and with costs of £11,011.

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