Uxbridge construction company fined £15,000 for unlicensed removal of asbestos a

Thursday, 5th Mar '09 at 10:44

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning contractors to carry out effective asbestos checks before demolition work starts, and to employ licensed asbestos removal companies.

This warning follows the prosecution of Waite Construction Ltd, of Denham, Uxbridge, who pleaded guilty to Regulation 8(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £15,000, with costs of £26,488, at the City of London Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

On 29 November 2006, HSE inspectors visited a site in Tudor Grove, Hackney, following a complaint from Hackney Council’s Pollution Control team about workers removing asbestos from the boiler house, with no protection for themselves or others in the area. Waite Construction Ltd was the principal contractor for work on a block of units and a disused boiler house.

HSE inspectors found that pipes clad with asbestos had been removed and cut, even after local authority officers had advised that work be stopped.

A Prohibition Notice was served for work to stop immediately and a further notice was issued to leave a skip undisturbed in an adjacent public car park. The second notice, called a “Notice to Leave Undisturbed,” was served because it was believed that the skip contained asbestos lagging. Only then, did Waite Construction Ltd arrange for a licensed asbestos removal contractor to clean the public areas and seal the premises, pending safe removal of the asbestos.

The HSE investigation found that no survey had been conducted to check for asbestos, even though it was foreseeable that a building of this age would contain asbestos materials.  It was also entirely practicable for Waite Construction Ltd to have arranged for a licensed asbestos removal contractor, before allowing workers into the area. 

HSE inspector Sarah Snelling said: “Waite Construction Ltd sent their employees to remove asbestos materials from a boiler room with no protection and absolutely no regard for their health. 

"Even after the company was told that asbestos was present the men were sent back in to work in a grossly contaminated area.

"HSE will not tolerate disregard for the well-known risks of working with asbestos and the fines imposed today reflect society's concern."

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