Workers exposed to large amounts of airborne asbestos fibres
Da Vinci Developments Limited has been fined after employees were exposed to asbestos whilst working on a former shop building in Bridgwater, Somerset between 17 September and 24 October 2012.
Taunton Magistrates heard (31 March) that the company failed to plan for the potential presence of asbestos insulation board (AIB) before developing the property.
HSE were notified company which had been asked to quote for the removal works. The firm was aware any such work had to be carried out by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Investigators found that a survey had not been undertaken to check for the presence of asbestos materials prior to starting the work.
Several weeks into the project workers were demolishing walls and ceilings in the building, breaking up the AIB. The workmen were exposed to “large amounts of airborne asbestos fibres” which spread through the inside and outside of the building during the work.
The AIB removal should have been undertaken by a licensed contractor taking suitable control measures to prevent exposure and spread of the asbestos fibres.
Taking home contaminated clothing
Da Vinci Developments Limited of Archfield Road, Cotham, Bristol, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and were fined £9,800 and ordered to pay £796 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector James Lucas said:
“It is very important that employers take appropriate measures before work starts in order to identify the potential for asbestos to be present when undertaking work.
Appropriate measures can then be taken to ensure workers are not exposed and asbestos is not spread.
Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could also have posed a health risk to others in the long-term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home contaminated clothing.
Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Building owners and contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure.”