A property manager from Cardiff has been fined for failing to properly manage the risks from asbestos at one of his premises.
Richard Hayward of Cardiff Bay was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over failings at the former Rhondda Pressing building, located on the Penygraig Industrial Estate.
Mr Hayward, trading as Richard Hayward Properties, managed the property on behalf of a company called Guinevere Holdings Limited.
Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Hayward had let out part of the building in 2007 but it was only in 2008, when a request to provide an asbestos survey for insurance purposes was made, that the presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) roof tiles and brown and blue asbestos was identified in the premises.
A subsequent HSE investigation confirmed there was a risk of exposure to asbestos due to the poor condition the asbestos was found in.
The court was told that between 2005 and 2008, three companies occupied the building. During this time, structural work to install a partition wall was completed and contractors were hired to carry out electrical works at the site.
In addition to those undertaking the work, any person in the vicinity, including tenants, were at risk of exposure to asbestos.
The HSE investigation found Mr Hayward did not take steps to discover whether asbestos was present or liable to be present and he failed to effectively identify and manage the risks arising from asbestos containing materials at the building.
Mr Hayward, of Adventurers’ Quay, Cardiff Bay, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.
HSE inspector Lee Schilling said:
“The dangers of asbestos are well known in the property management industry.
“Mr Hayward could have prevented the risk of exposing persons to asbestos if he had simply considered whether or not asbestos was present when he first took over control of the building and, having confirmed its presence, passed on relevant information to those who were liable to disturb it.
“For Mr Hayward not to inform relevant persons that asbestos was present demonstrated a major failing in his management procedures at that time.
“This prosecution highlights the importance of taking simple, practical steps to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos.”