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CLIENT AND CONTRACTOR ASBESTOS FAILURES FINED

HSE routine inspection reveals inadequate AIB management

Lifting Systems Ltd contracted Durasteel Services Ltd to refurbish an asbestos cement roof at its Northampton works.

When HSE inspectors visited on the 22 October 2013 to check the work they found asbestos insulation board (AIB) had been removed and stored on the premises and debris placed in waste skips around the site. A Prohibition Notice was served to immediately stop any further work.

Investigation revealed that although Lifting Systems Ltd was the client, the company had undertaken a good deal of the refurbishment work, including the removal of the majority of old asbestos cement roofing panels.

The company lacked an up to date asbestos register and did not carry out a demolition and refurbishment survey to highlight areas of asbestos to be considered during refurbishment.

Durasteel Services Ltd failed to carry out an assessment to identify the potential for asbestos to be disturbed and put effective control measures in place and neither company held a licence to remove asbestos.

Robust asbestos policy and procedures required

Lifting Systems Ltd of Crown Works Northampton, was fined a total of £14,000 and ordered to pay £523 in costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Durasteel Services Ltd of Northampton, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £523 after admitting one breach of the same regulations.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sam Russell said:

“This case highlights the importance of businesses having strong policies to enable identification of asbestos as part of their normal working practices.  The refurbishment work started three months before HSE visited the site, so the risks from asbestos had not been controlled for some time.

Lifting Systems Ltd made little effort to survey or identify asbestos in the premises before starting work, so failed to identify the presence of asbestos insulation board lining panels underneath the asbestos roofing sheets. The panels were broken up and placed in skips, putting construction workers and other employees at risk of exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibres.

An asbestos survey had been carried out by the previous owners of the premises and highlighted the asbestos which was removed.  However, the premises had been derelict for a period of time and the infrastructure had been damaged and vandalised meaning the old survey was not current and fit for purpose and a new one was required.

Durasteel Services Ltd was complicit in the removal of asbestos insulation board during the refurbishment. The company should have conducted an assessment to see if any work it undertook would have the potential to disturb asbestos materials and taken appropriate action to introduce control measures.”

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