Two Firms Fined £183,000 After Asbestos Management Failings

A food company and their contractor have been fined after asbestos was disturbed during building work and only identified by chance when an employee for an asbestos removal contractor attended site. Stafford Crown Court heard no asbestos survey had been carried out by the client; Mizkan Euro Ltd. or D H Welton & Co Ltd the contractor and that either company could have commissioned a Refurbishment / Demolition Survey before the work commenced.

Investigations by HSE Inspectors found Mizkan Euro Ltd. were undertaking a project to remove tanks from a factory which required the demolition of an external wall. They failed to provide an Asbestos Survey to enable their contractor DH Welton to quote and plan appropriately for the work to be undertaken. However, it also found DH Welton could have commissioned a survey when they discovered that Mizkan only had access to a management survey for the building.

When the wall was demolished the asbestos insulation board (AIB) at the top of the wall was unknowingly broken up. A skip of demolition debris was found to contain AIB, which had been identified by an asbestos contractor who had been called to site. For the work to be undertaken correctly, a licensed asbestos removal contractor should have been appointed to remove the asbestos under controlled conditions prior to the wall being demolished.

Mizkan Euro Ltd of Chiswick Park, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA'74) for failing to plan and manage the work carried out under their control without ensuring that risks to health and safety are prevented. It was fined £60,000 for each charge (£120k) and ordered to pay costs of £13,589.

D H Welton & Co Ltd. of Failsworth, Manchester admitted breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the same Act and regulation 5(1)(a) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 after failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos was present or liable to be present during the removal of a wall It was fined £15,000 for each charge (£45k) plus costs of £4,529.

For further information on how to deal with asbestos the HSE has published these guidelines. Lawgistics members can get Health and Safety advice from the legal team.

 

Authors: Ernie Taylor

Published: 19 Jan 2016

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