A high street shoe chain has been ordered to pay more than £57,000 after it knowingly exposed its staff to asbestos.

Pavers, which has more than 100 stores, admitted breaching an enforcement notice issued at one of its shops in Liverpool prohibiting access into stock rooms which contained asbestos in a dangerous condition.

Despite the enforcement notice, management at head office ordered the store manager to go into the room and retrieve stock which was then sold to the public or sent back to the head office.

The company pleaded guilty in January this year to one offence under section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This makes it an offence for a person to contravene any requirement or prohibition imposed by a prohibition notice.

Sentencing the company at Liverpool Crown Court on the 22 April the judge said: “Such a blatant disregard of that Notice makes the case more serious than the potential underlying offences”.

This case illustrates the importance of complying with prohibition and improvement notices that can be served by the Regulator. Unless you appeal them they must be complied with otherwise a separate offence is committed under the Act.

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