Staff exposed to asbestos risk during a refurbishment project.
A decorating company has been fined £45,000 after it exposed employees, agency staff and members of the public to potentially dangerous asbestos material.
The incident happened in 2009 over a period of several weeks, on a refurbishment project at Sentinel House, Poole.
Bournemouth Crown Court were told that MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd started to remove ceilings at the two-story block without carrying out a suitable asbestos survey in advance to determine the presence of asbestos.
As a result, four employees and fourteen agency staff working under the instruction of MJC, were exposed to asbestos dust and fibres that can cause respiratory problems and even incurable lung diseases.
During the weeks in which insulation boards were removed from the ceiling, the workers were not wearing protective clothing and appropriate respiratory masks to protect themselves and others to the risk of asbestos exposure.
MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd, of London Road, North Cheam, Sutton, Surrey, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. It was fined a total of £45,000 and ordered to pay £36,943 in costs.
In a statement after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Helena Tinton, said:
“This was a very serious incident which carries severe risks for people’s health.
“MJC’s safety failings led to the needless exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres of its employees, agency staff and the wider public. The firm didn’t carry out a suitable survey for asbestos material before the work started and failed to provide protection for workers on site.”
The catalogue of failings which affected workers and members of the public, could have been avoided with appropriate asbestos training.
‘Asbestos Awareness’ training is mandatory for all those likely to come into contact with ACM’s (Asbestos Containing Materials) in their works tasks and is found on houses and properties built before the year 2000. In order for workers to be involved in the remedial work, removal or clean up of ACM’s they must be trained to do so in the form of a ‘Non-Licensed Works with ACM’s’ training course.
Here at Armco, we offer both of these courses at a very competitive rate, call the office for further details on 0161 761 4424.