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Poor asbestos removal procedures result in prosecution

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Failure to implement proper asbestos removal procedures has resulted in an asbestos expert being prosecuted and fined £790.

Steven Kelly, 41, was the supervisor of an asbestos removal project at Trafford College in Stretford, Greater Manchester when Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors made an unannounced visit to the site on December 12th 2012.

They discovered that three workers under his supervision were not wearing suitable protective clothing or masks, leaving them exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Trafford College had hired Manchester-based firm Winsulate to manage the asbestos removal on site, but Mr Kelly ignored the company’s own safety procedures and allowed staff into a sealed-off section of the building to fix some temporary lighting wearing their own clothes, lace-up boots and half masks, instead of disposable clothing, wellington boots and full-face respiratory masks.

This meant they were at risk of breathing in asbestos fibres and of transporting the fibres home on their clothes; a situation made worse by a failure to provide enough water to sponge down boots and masks and the lack of checks on masks.

Mr Kelly, of Burwell Close in Kirby, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a hearing at Trafford Magistrates’ Court on October 11th 2013 and was fined £790 and ordered to pay £250 in costs.

HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “Asbestos can only be removed by specialist contractors but, as the site supervisor, Steven Kelly put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures.

“He simply should never have allowed three men to go into a contaminated area while wearing their own clothes, and without the correct protective clothing and respiratory masks.”

Breathing in asbestos fibres is the largest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK and strict procedures must be followed when removing the material from domestic and commercial properties.

Click here to learn about the asbestos removal process used by BLS Asbestos.

Published: 14th October 2013