Safe Asbestos Removal Procedures
A developer has been fined (including costs) £100,000 for exposing employees to asbestos. He has also been given an eight month suspended prison sentence.
The developer knew asbestos insulating board was present and formed part of the pre-fabricated buildings at a former school, but disregarded the presence of it.
HSE had initially visited the site, and an inspector identified that the type of structure was known to contain asbestos and gave the developer the advice required to comply with relevant legislation regarding the asbestos removal.
However, the developer did not heed the advice and proceeded with work, leaving piles of rubble containing asbestos around the site. He also put the asbestos insulating boards into a lockable skip, but was dry sweeping the dust sending clouds of asbestos containing dust across the building site. This was in contravention of a previously served Prohibition Notice.
Although disposable overalls and facemasks were being used, no other controls were in place to protect the workers from exposure.
An HSE spokesman said after the trial:
“[the developer] showed a willful disregard for the health and safety of his employees and others. Our investigation uncovered a catalogue of serious errors, safety failings and a general ignorance of the laws around the safe and correct removal of asbestos.
“This was an appalling case of failing to properly plan, manage and resource this project which led to workers being exposed to risks to their health from asbestos.
“Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home their contaminated clothing.
Don’t be ignorant about how dangerous the exposure to asbestos can be, get the experts in to survey your building site and offer advice and removal of asbestos containing materials.
It will save you a fortune in the long run as well as saving lives.