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CLIENT PROSECUTED ALONGSIDE CONTRACTOR OVER ASBESTOS

Aerospace firm placed asbestos contract with contractor lacking competence

GKN Aerospace Services Ltd and Lybrook Constructors Ltd (DL Group t/a) have been prosecuted after construction workers were exposed to asbestos at GKN premises in Somerset.

DL Group was engaged in June 2010 to remove ceiling tiles from within a treatment facilities room. Magistrates heard that GKN had undertaken a ‘basic survey’ prior to the refurbishment work being carried out but ignored the survey. 

GKN placed an order for the works with DL Group despite the company not having the skills to carry out adequate assessments. The firm did not hold a suitable license to work with or remove asbestos.

The court was told that DL Group employees began the removal work without the necessary demolition and refurbishment survey being commissioned thereby putting workers at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

Neither party made sufficient efforts prior to work commencing

GKN Aerospace Services Ltd of the Isle of Wight pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,885 in costs.

Lybrook Constructors Ltd, t/a DL Group, of Chippenham, admitted to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £3,400 and ordered to pay £5,885 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Annette Walker said:

“Neither party made sufficient efforts to identify the asbestos liabilities associated with the work prior to work commencing. GKN’s records identified the presence of asbestos insulating board in the ceiling tiles of that room. However, they relied upon the observations of contractors without the necessary competencies required to make the decision that asbestos was not present nor did they convey their information to the contractors.

Lybrook Constructors were active in making the decision that the ceiling tiles did not contain asbestos. In fact, a number of ceiling tiles were clearly marked with asbestos stickers and these were ignored.

As a result, a number of individuals were unnecessarily exposed to the risks associated with airborne asbestos fibres through failure to adequately assess and manage the works. Exposure to asbestos can have fatal or serious long term health consequences and, as such, every precaution must be taken to minimise any risks when working on buildings.”

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