Unfair financial advantage gained over other contractors
Demolition contractor James Site Services Ltd has been prosecuted after removing more than 50m of asbestos insulation board (AIB) without a license thereby potentially putting workers at risk on a small site under development in Fareham, Hampshire.
Portsmouth Magistrates heard the company, which specialises in site preparation, had been hired to undertake a ‘soft strip’ and other preparatory tasks before construction work started.
An HSE inspection discovered the firm removed the AIB from a bungalow that was due to be refurbished despite not holding the required licence.
The company commissioned a survey to identify asbestos and the surveyor advised the firm to seek a licensed contractor. The firm failed to do so and carried out the work themselves.
Survey not read or disregarded
James Site Services Ltd, of Cosham, Hampshire, was fined a total of £500 with £1,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher said:
“This was a serious failing on the part of the company. Having received the survey they asked for, it looks as though no one at James Site Services bothered to read it. Of, if they did, they disregarded its contents and failed to act to protect workers from possible exposure to one of the deadly killers in industry.
HSE operates a highly-regulated license regime in order to ensure work with asbestos is carried out safely by a skilled, competent workforce. By taking the work on, James Site Services not only put their workers at risk but also gained an unfair financial advantage over those contractors subject to this regime and who invest considerable time and money to achieve licensed status.
It is vital companies are fully aware of not just the duty to get an asbestos survey done, but then to act on its findings. There is considerable free guidance from HSE to help.”