Poole Investments plc has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in prosecution costs after plant dismantling work exposed workers to asbestos fibres at a disused tile factory in the Poole.
A series of people and workers were allowed on to the site despite the company being aware of the presence of asbestos materials from a survey it commissioned.
Bournemouth Magistrates heard (17 Sept) the company agreed to sell redundant plant at the factory site to a local trader. Between October 2010 and the following April 2011 the trader unwittingly released asbestos dust and fibres whilst demolishing part of a disused pottery kiln to access the redundant plant.
Poole Investments had commissioned an asbestos survey but allowed work to take place on site and next to the damaged kiln before the survey was completed. In addition, after the company received the survey report workers were allowed to continue activities at the premises.
Poole Investments plc, of Anglo Office Park, White Lion Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay a further £20,000 in costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, James Powell said:
“Poole Investments plc committed safety failings that led to workers being needlessly exposed to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres.
They failed to identify that asbestos containing material was present on the site before the work started, resulting in failure to properly manage the work or provide appropriate protection for workers. Worse still, they allowed this work to continue even after they were in possession of a report showing asbestos was present and advising that the area should be made out of bounds.
Asbestos-related diseases kill more people than any other single work-related cause. All types of asbestos can be dangerous if disturbed. The danger arises when asbestos fibres become airborne. They form a very fine dust. Breathing asbestos dust can cause serious damage to the lungs and cause cancer.”
Lighthouse Comments: It is hard to believe that after a recent blog about 20 fatalities a month in construction in a weeks that people still get control of asbestos wrong and take risks. DO not get the wrong survey, get it right and stay alive.