Failing to prevent exposure to asbestos – more companies fined

Disturbed asbestos during dismantling of large industrial oven

An investigation by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) found that prior to demolition works starting, no risk assessment, plan of work or demolition survey had been carried out.

A full survey was carried out which confirmed asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) to be present within the oven at multiple locations, such as rope gaskets and rope seals. Such items were found to be in poor condition, having been disturbed and damaged during dismantling of the oven.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard that, C Facilities Support Limited, trading as ‘CFS’ had been contracted by Greif UK Limited to remove redundant equipment from their premises in Ellesmere Port. Despite knowledge by both Grief and CFS of ACM’s, demolition works continued by CFS operatives. Grief UK Limited had instructed a worker to clean the area works without knowledge of the ACM’s. More worryingly, the area was also being used daily by Greif employees, as a thoroughfare to other parts of the factory. Grief UK Limited of Merseyside works, Oil Sites Road, Ellesmere Port pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,147.71.

C Facilities Support Limited, trading as ‘CFS’ of Military House, Castle Street, Chester pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the health and safety at work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,147.71.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Catherine Lyon said “The dangers associated with asbestos are well known and advice and guidance is freely available from the HSE and other organisations. Those in charge of premises have a duty to inform contractors of the presence of ACM’s, ensuring that works are carried out safely”

To read the full HSE article, please click here.

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