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Property developer fined £9.8k for asbestos failings

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A property development company has been fined £9,800 after its mishandling of asbestos insulating board (AIB) resulted in at least three of its workers being exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos fibres.

Da Vinci Developments Limited of Bristol pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 at Taunton Crown Court on March 31st 2014, after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified failings in its management of a conversion project at a former retail site in Queen Street, Bridgwater.

The company failed to carry out a statutory asbestos survey before commencing work on the premises and, as a result, had no plan in place to deal with the AIB.

Workers spent several weeks demolishing walls and ceilings at the former Marks & Spencer store and simply breaking up the AIB, meaning they were exposed to asbestos fibres, which were also subsequently spread outside the building.

The HSE discovered what had happened when it was contacted by a non-licensed asbestos removal company, which had been asked to quote for removal work at the site.

Removal of AIB can only be undertaken by a licensed contractor with the expertise and equipment required to ensure asbestos fibres are not spread.

Speaking after Da Vinci Developments Limited was fined £9,800 and ordered to pay £796 in costs, HSE inspector James Lucas said the company had neglected its duty to protect its workers from the threat posed by asbestos.

“It is very important that employers take appropriate measures before work starts in order to identify the potential for asbestos to be present when undertaking work,” he explained. “Appropriate measures can then be taken to ensure workers are not exposed and asbestos is not spread.

“Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could also have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home contaminated clothing.”

For information about asbestos refurbishment or demolition surveys and licensed asbestos removal services, please contact BLS Asbestos.

Published: 7th April 2014