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CONTRACTOR FAILED TO MANAGE ASBESTOS DURING REFURB

Lack of survey resulted in construction worker exposure to asbestos dust 

J C Irvine Limited has been prosecuted after construction workers were exposed to asbestos fibres during refurbishment work on premises in Swansea in 2010. 

Work on refurbishment of a former factory was being carried out without prior reference to an asbestos survey. A survey had been commissioned by the project client but the contractor started work without before the findings were available.

HSE was informed that those carrying out work were working in a contaminated building and inspectors visiting the site served an immediate Prohibition Notice. Swansea Magistrates heard that asbestos containing materials were disturbed by construction workers thereby releasing fibres into the air.

Construction and maintenance workers are in the most at-risk groups

J C Irvine Limited of Oldway, Bishopston, Swansea pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 23(1)(a) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £2,148.50.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Hayley Healey said:

“Construction and maintenance workers are in the most at-risk groups from asbestos-related diseases due to the nature of their work. The widespread occurrence of asbestos as a product in buildings constructed or refurbished prior to 2000, means that inadvertent disturbance of asbestos-containing materials can be frequent and regular where asbestos products have not been adequately identified or managed.

This prosecution should act as a reminder to those in the construction industry of the importance of ensuring that an asbestos survey, and its findings, are available prior to work being carried out and that the correct control measures are in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is prevented, so far as is reasonably practicable.”

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