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COMPANY FOUND OUT BY WASTE STATION SPOTTING ASBESTOS

Specialist timber treatment firm staff lacked necessary asbestos awareness

Timberwise (UK) Ltd has been found responsible for spread of asbestos fibres by unqualified workmen in July 2011. The national company which specialises in damp and timber repairs committed four offences and was fined a total of £18k.

The company was contracted to carry out the work in an antiques shop in Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. Site survey and strip out work was carried out without prior checking for the presence of asbestos.

None of the workers had received sufficient information, instruction or training in asbestos awareness or removal and the company did not hold a license to remove or handle asbestos containing materials.

Uncontrolled removal of the asbestos boards and demolition work caused the disturbance and spread of asbestos fibres. Dust was swept into rubble bags and dumped in a skip lorry with the asbestos insulation boards.

The asbestos material was identified at the waste transfer site and returned to the backyard of the shop. The owners of the building contacted HSE and arranged for a licensed removal company to undertake a full environmental clean of the building.

No procedures to check for the presence of asbestos

Timberwise (UK) Ltd, of Rudheath, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined the following amounts:  Section 5 (duty to identify the presence of asbestos) £4,500; Section 8 (work with a licensed asbestos material) £4,500; Section 10 (duty to provide information, instruction and training) £4,500; and Section 16 (duty to prevent of reduce the spread of asbestos) £4,500.

HSE Inspector, Steve Richardson, speaking after the case, said:

“This incident was entirely preventable and would not have happened if Timberwise had provided adequate information, instruction and training to its staff.

The company had no procedures to check for the presence of asbestos and as a result, has put the health of its workers and the shopowners at risk of potentially fatal asbestos-related lung diseases.”

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