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TOWN PUT AT RISK FROM ASBESTOS FIBRE RELEASE

Pressurised water washing of industrial roofs spread fibres across town

Concept Roofing and Cladding Services Ltd has been ordered to pay almost £25,000 in fines and prosecution costs after asbestos fibres were released in a Leicestershire town during pressurised water washing of roof panels on industrial units between December 2008 and January 2009.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that the pressure washers used to clean the asbestos cement roofing panels “blasted the harmful material into the environment”. The problem was discovered when asbestos was found outside the units on 22 January.

Work was stopped immediately and local traders were affected for several months while a programme of safe removal was carried out. There was major disruption caused in the town. During the subsequent clean-up operation, traces of the material were found on walls, in drains and at a bus stop.

Wilful disregard for safety of employees and public

Concept Roofing and Cladding Services Ltd, of Venture House, The Tanneries, East Street, Titchfield, Fareham, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was yesterday fined £12,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £22,375

HSE inspector Stephen Farthing said:

“the distress, inconvenience and cost of remedial action could have been easily avoided had the company taken sensible steps to ensure the right tools were used and the spread of potentially dangerous material was prevented.

Concept Roofing and Cladding knew the roofing panels contained asbestos and should have known that the use of a pressure washer was entirely inappropriate. The company showed a wilful disregard for the safety of its employees and the general public.

The actions of this company caused a great deal of worry and inconvenience for local people and business, some of whom had to leave their premises for a considerable amount of time.

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