New garage doors see company fined for safety failings

A garage door installation company has been fined after failing to manage asbestos during work on a house.

They were carrying out work to remove an existing integrated garage door to replace with a new one. The workers has removed old fittings from the side of the garage door with an angle grinder and some of the ceiling fittings with a crowbar. Holes were drilled into the ceiling to fit new roof bars and in doing so, they caused considerable damage to the ceiling, which was made of Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB).

The resulting dust containing asbestos fibres were spread though the house via the central heating system, resulting in the homeowner having to vacate his home. He lived in a hotel for eleven months whilst the house was deep cleaned to remove all traces of asbestos fibres.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that despite undertaking work on a building built before the year 2000, a suitable and sufficient assessment to establish whether asbestos was liable to be present in the premises, and what type of asbestos containing material may have been present, was not carried out prior to work starting. Subsequent testing of the material came back positive for Chrysotile (White) and Amosite (Brown) Asbestos.

AIB are boards that have high asbestos content, usually containing Amosite (Brown) and can also contain Chrysotile (White) asbestos. AIB is commonly used as fireproofing material but it also had many other uses, including partition walls, fire doors, ceiling tiles, soffits and panels below windows.

Although you cannot see the asbestos fibres with the naked eye, boards tend to be off white or grey in colour, depending on how much asbestos they contain. Older boards can contain Crocidolite (Blue) asbestos.

AIB is a licensed material, this means that generally, anyone undertaking work on asbestos insulating board is legally required to have a license issued by the HSE, enabling them to work on that type of material.

The garage door company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,589.

To read the full article by the HSE, please click here