Asbestos Update from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

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Even in early 2014, asbestos and its associated materials continue to blight both private and public residences up and down the country. The Health and Safety Executive provides regular bulletins regarding new discoveries and areas put at risk.

Asbestos Exposure

Here are a couple of recent examples of asbestos exposure and the punishments levied for such discoveries:

  • Companies in West Yorkshire Fined for Asbestos Lift Replacement


In West Yorkshire, two firms hired to carry out refurbishment work at a trust that provides housing and care for the elderly have been fined for potentially exposing staff and residents to asbestos.

The lift was being replaced at the trust before the installation of a new one. The shaft contained asbestos, which was removed, but no procedures were put in place to stop the asbestos fibres from spreading.

The Health and Safety Executive told the company responsible for installing the new lift, they did not make adequate inquiries to the trust about the presence of asbestos.

The trust had failed to make appropriate arrangements for managing the lift replacement and that there was a risk to health.

The company responsible for removing the existing lift, were also found responsible on the basis that they had not used adequate lighting when carrying out the job. This could have contributed to them not identifying the presence of asbestos.

All 3 were responsible for the unsafe removal of asbestos, exposing residents, staff and others to the potentially dangerous spread of asbestos fibres.

In total, all 3 companies were fined over £20,000 and were all ordered to pay costs.

  • Window Company Put School at Risk


A window replacement company has put its staff at risk during a job at a school in Suffolk. They told the school that a registered contractor would remove the asbestos panels. However, the company was not licensed to do this job. No control measures were used by employees to stop the spread of fibres and they were also not informed they would be working with asbestos.

The window replacement employees and the school head teacher alerted the HSE after they noticed a suspect material on the floor. The area was immediately sealed off and cleaned under strict conditions. Some of the schools items had to be destroyed due to contamination.

The company was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £10,571 in costs.

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