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ASBESTOS EXPOSURE AT MAJOR RENOVATION PROJECT

Contractor sentenced after communications failure puts workers at risk

CLC Contractors Ltd of Southampton has been fined £20,000 following an incident in May 2009 when employees working on the refurbishment of three student blocks were exposed to asbestos containing material. The incident occurred at the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth.

The firm had agreed with a specialist asbestos removal company that they would work simultaneously in parts of the building already cleared by the asbestos removal workers. However, work began in an area of the building which had not been cleared of asbestos.

Four employees were exposed to fibres and had to go through a specialist decontamination process.

Incident could have been avoided

The company pleaded guilty to exposing four employees to asbestos under Regulation 11 (1) (a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. They were fined £5,000 for each charge.

HSE inspector, Barry Trudgian, said:

“This incident could have been avoided if an adequate risk assessment had been made before the work started and communicated clearly to the workforce.

Exposure to asbestos can have serious long-term consequences for your health and precautions must be taken to minimise any risks when working on buildings.”

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