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9th January 2019

Firm is Fined £90K After Making Workers Sweep Asbestos Dust

What’s Happened?

A court has recently heard how employees cleaned up asbestos debris and dust from a floor the size of a football pitch without any precautions.

As a result, the firm has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £7,184 in costs.

Poor Management

From April to November a construction firm was appointed to refurbish parts of Rose Lane Business Centre in Norwich. No refurbishment and demolition (R&D) asbestos survey had been carried out prior to the work starting and at some point during the works – asbestos-containing materials were disturbed.

HSE Inspectors who visited the site park way through the operation were concerned about what they saw. As a result, an asbestos survey was arranged and carried out, revealing that there was a significant amount of asbestos debris on the ground level.

Despite the recommendations made by the surveyor for the correct and safe removal of the asbestos-containing materials, the construction firm didn’t comply. In fact, The HSE later discovered that in a six-day period in October the asbestos debris was swept and vacuumed. This was carried out by workers who spoke little English and had no training in the understanding of the dangers from asbestos dust.

In court, The construction firm was found guilty of breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR). It was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £7,184 in costs.

Get the Right Survey…

An asbestos survey is always needed for any refurbishment project undertaken within a building constructed prior to the year 2000. However, even those with a completed asbestos survey may still fall foul of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

There are two types of surveys specified in the regulations:-

Management Survey. This is a standard non-intrusive survey undertaken in an occupied building where physical damage to the building is not possible. This will typically avoid lifting carpets or removing fixed furniture, etc.

Refurbishment and Demolition Survey – also commonly known as an R&D asbestos survey, This is a fully intrusive survey which is only appropriate when construction work is imminent as it involves uncovering all the layers of material which will be disturbed during the planned work.

If you’re in control of a building, your responsible for ensuring that the right type of survey is carried out prior to work which could disturb asbestos. As a general rule, an R&D survey should be completed before work on any building constructed prior to the year 2000 – this will be needed even if you already have an asbestos management survey.

Untrained Staff…

A specific issue this company was prosecuted for was the lack of asbestos training for its staff.

Those who undertake maintenance work in building which were built prior to 2000 must receive asbestos awareness training. Lighthouse is able to offer this training either as an accredited E-learning course or as a taught classroom course form one of our consultants

If workers are to actually work with asbestos, they will need additional training. In many circumstances they will need to work for a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

If you have any queries regarding asbestos surveys or training, then don’t hesitate to call our consultants on the Health & Safety advice line today on 0845 459 1724.

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