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Essex firm in court following unsafe asbestos removal

Date:
17 June 2015

An Essex asbestos removal contractor has been fined for a series of failings after asbestos debris was found at a home in Amersham.

Aspect Contracts Ltd 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’ Court heard today (17 June) that workers had deviated from an agreed removal plan without authorisation by the company’s management.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Aspect Contracts Ltd’s plan for the work was itself inadequate. It failed to identify the controls and techniques necessary to maintain an adequate level of enclosure when accessing ceiling voids, and also failed 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.

Aspect Contracts Ltd, of Honeywood Road, 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.”

Further information on how to reduce the risk of asbestos can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  3. Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006
  4. HSE news releases are available at hse.gov.uk/press.

 

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