Two brothers from Stoke-on-Trent who were lacking in construction and building work experience have been given prison sentences after exposing workers to asbestos.
Akram Hussain and Inam Hussain of Boughey Road, exposed at least seven workers to the deadly fibres during refurbishment work at a former print works on Scotia Road, Burslem. The work had been carried out since February 2012, with a 17 year old being one of the exposed workers.
Stafford Crown Court heard that neither brothers were experienced in building and construction work; nor were they licensed to remove asbestos.
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the brothers after it was revealed that none of the necessary asbestos surveys were carried out and a Construction, Design and Management Co-ordinator (CDM) was not in place.
At least seven workers were exposed to asbestos in the building but many more could have been exposed over the course of the project.
Akram and Inam Hussain both pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE inspector Lindsay Hope said:
“The Hussains have shown a willful disregard for the health and safety of workers and others. Our investigation uncovered a catalogue of serious errors, safety failings and a disregard of the laws around the safe and correct removal of asbestos.
“This was an appalling case of failing to properly plan, manage and resource this project, which led to workers being exposed to risks to their health from asbestos.
“It is essential at the outset of a building refurbishment to first seek specialist advice regarding the possible presence of asbestos within that building. Only with the full knowledge of what is present, or not, can any asbestos then be dealt with safely.
“Failure to identify and deal with any asbestos can lead to it being damaged and people then breathing in the fibres. The Hussains failed in their duty by choosing to ignore the dangers of this hidden killer.”
Akram Hussain was given a custodial sentence of 22 weeks and ordered to pay fines of £43,000. Inam Hussain was given a custodial sentence of 14 weeks.