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REFURB CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED OVER ASBESTOS RISKS

Company fined after exposing workers and the public to asbestos

Shengxuan Company Ltd, a refurbishment firm, has been fined after workers and the public were exposed to asbestos during conversion of a Castle Donington shop to a restaurant in June 2010.

The work disturbed asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) which were placed in a skip by the workers, who were unaware of the presence of asbestos or risks involved.

A member of the public with experience in the asbestos industry saw the skip and contacted HSE. Debris was seen on the floor between the skip and the garage.

HSE investigators found the firm had not made the workers aware of the dangers of asbestos and had not provided training on how to recognise or deal with the material. A prohibition notice was served, stopping all work until the problem was rectified.

Workforce not made aware of asbestos

Shengxuan Company Ltd, of Pendeford, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 11(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £4,000. The company was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,100.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said:

“The company had a duty to protect its employees and the public from exposure to asbestos, yet failed in that duty.

Before starting work the company should have carried out a survey to ascertain if asbestos was present and then arranged for it to be removed safely by a licensed company. By failing to do this they put people’s health at risk by contaminating a public area with asbestos.

The latest health and safety statistics show that more people are dying as a result of asbestos related diseases than are killed in accidents at work. This situation will not change unless organisations take their duty to manage asbestos seriously.”

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