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CLIENT AND CONTRACTOR FINED FOR UNSAFE ASBESTOS WORK

Family left exposed to asbestos fibres for three days before action taken

City of Lincoln Council and County Waste (Lincs) Ltd have been prosecuted after asbestos insulation board (AIB) was removed from the home of a tenant without appropriate precautions for work with AIB.

In June 2008 the Council contracted County Waste (Lincs) Ltd to investigate the fixing of asbestos insulation board with a view to removal. However, County Waste (Lincs) Ltd did not hold a license to work with asbestos.

The employee carrying out the work lacked adequate information or training about the hazards from exposure to asbestos. He prised off the panels with a crowbar, breaking them in the process, and deposited the AIB in a sack for transport to a yard for disposal.

Broken panels and pieces of asbestos debris were left on the bathroom floor of the property. The workman walked around for the rest of the day in clothing that may have been contaminated with asbestos fibres.

After the tenant complained to the Council, employees visited the property to inspect the damage. However, they failed to tell the tenant there was a problem and did not move the family to another property for three days.

Council failed to check contractor competence

City of Lincoln Council was fined £10,000k and County Waste (Lincs) Ltd £4,250. The parties were also ordered to pay prosecution costs costs of £12k and £6k respectively.

HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “The Council failed to ensure the contractor was competent to carry out the work and had no procedures in place to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to its employees.

It failed to protect its tenants and ensure that they were not exposed to risks to their health following the release of asbestos fibres.”

”Not informing the family about the seriousness of the problem and leaving them in the property for three days before rehousing them was an irresponsible and unacceptable act for a landlord.”

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