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3rd July 2024

Companies Fined After Exposing 16yr Old To Asbestos

16 Year Old Exposed To Asbestos Breaking Up Concrete Slabs

What’s Happened

Two companies have been fined after a teenage worker was exposed to asbestos during work to an outbuilding of a domestic property in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

The 16-year-old had been working for a Joinery and Building company who had been hired by a principal contractor to refurbish a domestic property.

The 16-year-old had been instructed to break up cement sheets taken from the roof of the property and put them into a skip. Asbestos was later found to be in the cement sheets, thereby exposing the worker to asbestos fibres.

HSE Investigation

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the principal contractor had failed to carry out an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey of the property, which would have identified the asbestos.

As a result, the Joinery and Building company employing the 16-year-old had not properly assessed the works and therefore failed to prevent the worker from being exposed to asbestos.

Both companies appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court where they pleaded guilty to breaching sections of both The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The companies were fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,450 in costs.

After the case, the HSE principal inspector involved in the prosecution said: “A suitable and sufficient asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey of the building undertaken by the client and provided to the contractor before work started would have identified the presence of asbestos in the roofing materials.’’

“The contractor could have ensured suitable controls were put in place and the asbestos removed safely before further work was undertaken.

Read more: Health and Safety Support For Construction Projects.

Asbestos Survey

It’s clear from this recent case that by having an asbestos survey before undertaking these works would have avoided the employee being exposed to deadly asbestos fibres, and the companies being subsequently fined for the breaches. An asbestos survey aims to:

  • provide accurate information on the location, amount and condition of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs)
  • assess the level of any damage or deterioration of the ACMs and whether remedial action is required
  • provide information to produce an asbestos register and management plan  for the premises
  • identify hidden ACMs to be removed before refurbishment work or demolition

If you have any queries regarding asbestos surveying, testing or training then don’t hesitate to call our adviceline on 0300 303 5228 or email us at info@lighthouseriskservices.co.uk

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