A Stockton social club has been fined more than £2,000 for carrying out unlicensed removal of asbestos from its premises.
Elm Tree Social Club pleaded guilty to four offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 when they appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday 20 January).
The court heard how committee members removed a number of asbestos insulation boards from the ceiling of the club’s store room rather than using a licensed asbestos removal company.
Environmental Health officers from Stockton Council visited the premises on 29 November 2013 to investigate an anonymous complaint that the work had been carried out incorrectly.
An officer found asbestos material still attached to the ceiling and instructed Elm Tree Social Club to arrange a full clean of the area by a licensed company and to get air clearance tests done to ensure no material or fibres remained.
In mitigation representatives of Elm Tree Social Club said the club believed appropriate guidance was being followed when carrying out the work.
The club was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay £800 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: “Asbestos is a dangerous material which, in certain situations, can cause long-term health problems if it is not removed and disposed of correctly by licensed professionals.
“In this case Elm Tree Social Club failed to ensure the health and safety of their employees. They also failed to document a risk assessment, a written plan of work and did not notify the enforcing authority, which in this case was the Council.
“Unlicensed individuals can put themselves and others at risk if they attempt to remove asbestos themselves. As this case demonstrates, we will deal robustly with anyone who does not take their responsibility seriously and will take appropriate action if that is the case. Of course we are also happy to provide advice about safe asbestos removal.”
For advice about safe asbestos removal, contact Stockton Council’s Environmental Health team on 01642 526575.