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ASBESTOS EXPOSURE RISK DURING SHIPBREAKING

Ship breakers failed to survey, assess risk and manage asbestos exposure

Acetech Construction Limited has been prosecuted after placing workers and others at risk of exposure to asbestos during dismantling a former fishing vessel.

The HSE investigation revealed that Acetech failed to carry out an adequate survey that would have highlighted the presence of asbestos containing materials before employees began work on the vessel.

Between 1 December 2007 and 29 February 2008, work took place to strip down the boat resulting in several employees potentially exposed to asbestos containing materials.

Potential harm could have been avoided

Acetech Construction Ltd, of New Green Farm, Marsh Lane, Barrow Haven, was fined £3,400 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 at Scunthorpe Magistrates Court.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Kirsty Welsh said:

“Asbestos is responsible for around 4,000 deaths each year so it’s vitally important that workers are protected. You might not know what damage has been caused by exposure, or the numbers of people who may have been affected, until much later, if at all, but identifying dangerous materials and removing them safely and responsibly is essential in order to eliminate all possible risk.

“Had Acetech Construction carried out a full survey, assessed the risks and put in place systems to protect their workers, then any potential harm would have been avoided.”

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