Two companies fined for serious breaches in the removal of asbestos

A construction management company and a director of a construction company were fined for serious safety failings whilst working on a construction site at Kensington Church Street, London.

Work was carried out by three employees of construction firm Cowen Builders Limited, of Chelmsford exposed them to asbestos over several days after it was disturbed. It will be several years before it is know if the exposure will result in asbestos related disease causing ill health and death.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, in May 2013, Cowen Builders Limited (CBL) had been contracted by Paragon Management UK Limited (Paragon) to carry out work at the premises. Prior to this work asbestos had been identified in a survey by Paragon. Paragon failed to provide the details of the survey to CBL prior to the work starting. CBL failed to consider the possibility of asbestos being present and then continued the work without adequate measures in place after it was known the asbestos had been disturbed.

Paragon Management UK Limited, from Austin Friars, London, was fined a total of £20,000, and ordered to pay £2,373 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were also ordered to pay compensation to each of the three workers.

Kenneth W Cowen, sole director of Cowen Building Limited of South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, Essex, was fined £15,000, and ordered to pay £2,373 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.   
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:   
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at 

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