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ASBESTOS REMOVAL COMPANY MISSED DEBRIS

Lagged pipe in wall cavity ‘Deviation from plan leads licensed contractor to court

Aspect Contracts Ltd has been fined for a series of failings after asbestos debris was found at a home in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

The company was hired by the homeowners to remove sections of asbestos-lagged pipework from ceiling voids in November 2011. However after the work was completed debris containing asbestos was found by the homeowners and other contractors working at the premises.

Wycombe Magistrates heard (17 June) that workers deviated from an agreed removal plan without authorisation by management.

HSE investigators found that the plan was inadequate. It failed to:

  • identify the controls and techniques necessary to maintain an adequate level of enclosure when accessing ceiling voids; and to
  • address the proper procedure for removal of the material to minimise risk of asbestos fibre being released.

Material and debris found adjacent to the areas previously worked on by Aspect Contracts and were later analysed and found to contain asbestos material.

Site team must understand what to do

Aspect Contracts Ltd, of Basildon, was fined a total of £21,120 and ordered to pay £37,606 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 Regulation 11(1)(b).

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said:

“This case highlights the requirement to properly plan asbestos removal and ensure the written plan is suitable for the on-site team to understand what they need to do. Aspect Contracts Ltd have extensive experience of such work, however their plan of work was poorly conceived and, when on-site, workers further deviated from recognised industry best-practice.

The dangers of exposure are well-known. There are long-term health risks associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Those working with the material owe duty of care to ensure those at work and others, such as homeowners, are not exposed or put at risk.”

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