Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court has fined an Essex company for the unsafe removal of asbestos material at a local farm.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted by a concerned member of the public who believed dangerous disposal of asbestos was being carried out.
A HSE investigation revealed significant health and safety failings. The cladding company wrongly claimed to have the appropriate asbestos disposal licence, failed to train staff and provide the staff with a decontamination unit. Instead, baby wipes and access to a hosepipe were the only source of decontamination.
Furthermore, the employees were working at heights of approximately four metres without safety protection.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court fined the company total of £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3365.50 plus a £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
After the case was heard, Dominic Elliss from the HSE stated:
“[The company’s] incompetent actions led to its employees being potentially exposed to asbestos fibres at a much higher level than would have been possible had a competent licensed contractor been used.
“In addition there was a serious risk one of them could fall from or through the fragile roof because of the firm failed to provide effective safeguards. Too many workers continue to be seriously injured from falls in exactly this type of refurbishment project.”
For further information on working safety with asbestos click here.