It doesn’t seem to matter how big or small a company is, companies who fail to take adequate asbestos surveys prior to refurbishment works continue to make the news.
The latest is a large hotel chain.
The company in question failed to ensure a full asbestos assessment was carried out prior to a refurbishment of a wing of a hotel in Folkestone in 2010.
An asbestos surveyor was only called to site after work had commenced and asbestos had already been discovered in the eaves. Asbestos was also found on the second floor of the hotel, which was likely to have been linked to the removal of walls and ceilings.
It is unclear at this early stage whether any construction workers or guests were directly affected as symptoms of asbestos related diseases can take many years to develop.
An HSE inspector said:
“[the company] carried out refurbishment work without carrying out a full and proper asbestos survey before works got underway. The company’s failure to deal with the asbestos could have resulted in up to 22 workers being exposed to asbestos from the outset of the project
“This situation was wholly avoidable and I hope today’s prosecution also highlights the need to ensure that workers are given the appropriate training to ensure that asbestos is properly managed and dealt with.”
This drives home the importance of hiring a qualified and competent asbestos surveyor before the beginning of any building or refurbishment works where there is the possibility of asbestos containing materials.