A Sutton based decorating company has been fined £45000 with £38943 in costs after being found guilty of exposing many people to potentially fatal asbestos material.
The incident happened during a refurbishment project at offices in Poole over a period of several weeks.
The company had started removing ceiling panels from the office block without first carrying out a suitable asbestos survey in advance.
Widespread contamination was found, and spread of asbestos both inside and outside the office building was revealed when an HSE inspector visited the site.
This resulted in 4 employees and 14 agency staff being exposed to asbestos dust and fibres which can cause respiratory problems and incurable lung diseases.
The ceiling was removed over the course of 2 weeks, and as no protection against asbestos was used, the asbestos fibres released could have stuck to the workers clothes and been released far outside the office building, potentially putting members of the public at risk.
Speaking after the hearing and HSE Inspector said:
“This was a very serious incident which carries severe risks for people’s health.
“[The Company’s] safety failings led to the needless exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres of its employees, agency staff and the wider public. The firm didn’t carry out a suitable survey for asbestos material before the work started and failed to provide protection for workers on site.
“This totally needless incident would not have happened if [The Company] had carried out proper assessments.”
Don’t let this happen to your company. If you are the customer, whenever having any work carried out, ensure that the company you employ to do the work is asbestos aware. If not, call Crucial Environmental to arrange a pre-works asbestos survey. We can also remove asbestos and safely dispose of it to prevent asbestos exposure.
If you are the contractor, ensure you have an asbestos survey carried out before an work commences and then any asbestos containing materials can then be safely removed and disposed of.
If you have a ‘duty to manage’ then consider our asbestos training course or visit our asbestos compliance page. If you need more help then contact our customer services on 01903 297818 or fill in our contact form.