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LICENSED ASBESTOS REMOVAL FIRM FINED FOR FAILURES

HSE inspection revealed problems with decontamination facilities and RPE

AG&M Ltd has been prosecuted after failing to properly maintain a decontamination unit and respiratory protective equiment and not having a trained supervisor on site at a Kenilworth building in 2011.

Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that an inspector from HSE visited the site on 20 January 2011 and found the decontamination was substandard. The shower could not be used because water has frozen in the hosepipe serving the facility. 

Workmen removing ceiling tiles (containing amosite asbestos) would not have realised there was no water supply until they were in the shower compartment.

Daily inspection records of the unit had not been completed and HSE inspectors found a damaged vent, broken door hinge and defective shower compartment door.

Licensed contractors required to achieve the highest standards

AG&M Ltd, of Sheffield was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,349 costs.

After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Jo Anderson said:

“AG&M’s failure to maintain the unit meant that if we had not drawn this to their attention, two men would have been unable to shower, which is the final and most important stage of decontamination, until the ice had melted.

It is unacceptable to allow such failings. As a licensed asbestos removal contractor, the company was fully aware of its responsibilities to ensure the safety and welfare of its workers. Licensed contractors are required to achieve the highest standards of control to prevent exposure and spread.

People who work with asbestos must be able to clean themselves properly to prevent exposure to such a potentially dangerous substance.

It is also essential to have a trained and competent supervisor on site at all times to pick up on and resolve such issues before anyone is put at risk.”

Asbestos is the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with an estimated 4,000 people dying every year from lung diseases such as mesothelioma.

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