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ASBESTOS SURVEY NOT SHARED WITH THOSE AT RISK

Contractor fined after workforce exposed AIB during refurb project

Redwood Contractors Ltd has been prosecuted for failing to highlight the known presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) at a Berkshire warehouse thereby exposing a foreman and others to potential harm when the AID was removed during refurbishment work.

The company as in possession of a detailed asbestos survey clearly identifying the location of the asbestos wall panels inside the building in Wokingham, Surrey. However, the survey was not shared with the team on the ground.

When the foreman mistook the AIB for lower risk material asbestos cement it was removed without adequate control measures and protective equipment.

The communication breakdown was revealed when HSE investigated contamination of the warehouse with asbestos in December 2011.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard that AIB should be removed by a licensed asbestos contractor because of the risk of exposure to asbestos dangerous fibres.

HSE established that the site foreman was not provided with documentation or other information about the panels despite an asbestos survey being completed two months prior to the work starting.

Breakdowns in communication all too common

Redwood Contractors Ltd, of Battersea Rise, London, SW11, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,857 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Karen Morris commented:

“It is disappointing that the foreman and others were needlessly put at risk simply because the asbestos survey for the warehouse was not supplied to the team on the ground, or the location of the AIB relayed.

What is the point of having a suitable survey in hand if you aren’t going to act on it and share vital information with those who need to know? Sadly, breakdowns in communication of this kind are all too common, but that doesn’t excuse Redwood Contractors from failing to do more.

The company is guilty of a clear oversight that may have compromised the future health and well-being of its workers. Everyone knows that asbestos is a potential killer, and the onus is on duty holders to implement proper control measures at all times when dealing with asbestos.”

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