Northampton firms fined for unsafe asbestos removal

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A project to refurbish an asbestos roof resulted in two Northamptonshire firms being fined a total of £24,000, after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious safety failings at the site.

Lifting Systems Ltd had hired Durasteel Services Ltd to undertake the work at its Crown Works in Far Cotton, but when HSE inspectors visited the premises in October 2013 they immediately served a Prohibition Notice to halt the project.

Inspectors discovered that asbestos insulation board had been removed and stored on site, with debris from the boards simply placed in waste skips.

An investigation found that Lifting Systems Ltd had actually carried out much of the work itself, including removing old roofing panels, but that it had done so without commissioning a demolition and refurbishment asbestos survey. It was also discovered that there was no up to date asbestos register for the site.

When Durasteel Services Ltd arrived on site it failed to carry out an assessment of asbestos risks and neglected to set up control measures to prevent the substance being disturbed. It did not have a licence to undertake asbestos removal work.

At Northampton Magistrates’ Court on December 22nd 2014, Lifting Systems Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £14,000. Durasteel Services Ltd admitted one breach of the regulations and was fined £10,000.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said the two companies had put construction workers and staff at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, as they had failed to have a proper asbestos survey undertaken.

“This case highlights the importance of businesses having strong policies to enable identification of asbestos as part of their normal working practices,” he added.

“They made little effort to survey or identify asbestos in the premises before starting work, so failed to identify the presence of asbestos insulation board lining panels underneath the asbestos roofing sheets. The panels were broken up and placed in skips, putting construction workers and other employees at risk of exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibres.”

For advice about safe and legal asbestos removal and disposal by a licensed contractor, please contact BLS Asbestos.

 

Published: 5th January 2015