Bedford demolition company boss risked public health while removing asbestos in Biggleswade

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A demolition company owner put people’s health at risk while he removed potentially-deadly asbestos in a public place, a court heard.

Anthony West, who runs Pavenham-based Countryside Demolition, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to carry out a suitable assessment of the dangers.

HSE say his safety lapse could have led to “severe illness” in the future for himself, his workers and even members of the public walking past the Biggleswade demolition site.

Bedfordshire magistrates heard 55-year-old West was contracted to demolish an old building and had an asbestos survey carried out in preparation.

But an HSE investigation was launched when a member of the public reported that he did not check the survey before carrying out the work and did not follow advice to use a licenced asbestos removal contractor.

West, who lives at Earwig Farm, pleaded guilty to breaching four sections of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.

He was fined £2,970 and ordered to pay costs of £5,419.

HSE Inspector Alison Outhwaite said: “The safety failings in this case could have led to severe illness in later years.”

She said West not only put himself at potential risk from exposure to asbestos, but also risked the health of fellow workers and even passers by.

“Duty holders have the responsibility to ensure that adequate assessments take place to avoid the risk of asbestos exposure. This includes checking the accuracy and clarity of any information provided by others.”