Staffordshire Company fined following illegal asbestos removal
A Staffordshire based company has been fined £31,000 after employing a handyman to remove asbestos. The company was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.
The company had carried out an asbestos survey on a building they were seeking to re-furbish. The survey uncovered Asbestos Insulation Boards (‘the insulation boards’)) lining some of the doors of the building.
The asbestos survey advised the company to have the insulation boards removed by a licensed removal company in order to ensure they remained intact.
The company instructed a general handyman, however, who, rather than remove the doors as one, simply removed the insulation boards from the doors, resulting in them breaking and asbestos fibres potentially being released.
The handyman was also prosecuted for not being adequately trained or licensed and was fined £480 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.
The head of regulatory services from the local enforcing authority said:
‘we take breaches in health and safety very seriously…companies have a responsibility to their workers…to protect their health and safety…and the serious health risks of asbestos are well known. Any maintenance work done in buildings built before the year 2000 must consider and manage the risk of possible asbestos containing materials’
The Relevant Law | Kangs Health and Safety at Work Solicitors
The company pleaded guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 but more specifically, also under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The Regulations came into force in April 2012 and updated previous Regulations governing people who work with asbestos.
If the activity is licensable, the contractor will require a licence as an ‘asbestos contractor’ whenever handling asbestos.
Licensable work with asbestos is work:
- where worker exposure to asbestos is not sporadic and of low intensity or
- where the risk assessment cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded (ie 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3) (averaged over a four hour period) or
- on asbestos coating or
- on asbestos insulation or asbestos insulating board where the risk assessment demonstrates that the work is not short duration work (eg when work with these materials will take no more than two hours in any seven day period, and no one person works for more than one hour in that two hour period)
A licence could include conditions requiring the licence holder to achieve specific objectives or restrict the licence holder to specific work.
All licensable work must be notified to the appropriate local authority using a prescribed form at least 14 days before the work starts.
Even carrying out non-licensed asbestos work still requires that there be effective control measures in place.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors
Kangs Solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of Health and Safety law.
As is clear from the case above, the Courts are not afraid to impose large fines in recognition of the seriousness of companies flouting Health and Safety law and in particular, in cases involving the unsafe removal of asbestos, which poses a substantial health threat to the public.
Our specialist lawyers are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the Health and Safety Executive through to enforcement, interview under caution and ultimately criminal prosecution.
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