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    POST EXPLOSION ASBESTOS WORK WAS UNSAFE

    Asbestos cement panels removed and cut with power tools

    A wood processing company has been fined after unsafe asbestos work was carried out at its Macclesfield premises in October 2016

    Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard how in the aftermath of a large explosion at the factory the company was directed by HSE to fit new explosion relief panels to an asbestos cement-clad warehouse.

    It was during an inspection by two HSE inspectors to assess progress with this work that HSE noticed that asbestos cement panels of the warehouse had been removed, cut to shape with power tools and replaced.

    HSE investigators found that whilst an external company was contracted to fit the explosion relief panels the company did not work with asbestos containing materials.

    The defendant removed the cladding and following installation of the panels, some remedial work was necessary to repair holes left in the wall. The old asbestos sheets were cut to size and refitted.

    Asbestos information not shared with employees

    The company was fully aware of the presence of asbestos and had an Asbestos Survey and Action Plan but this information was not shared with employees and measures were not put in place to contain the risks involved.

    • Wood Treatment Ltd – of Tunstall Road, Bosley, Macclesfield pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £170.

    Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Ian Betley said:

    “Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air.

    Asbestos should only be removed by specialist contractors Wood Treatment Ltd put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures.”

     

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