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Manufacturer fined after workers exposed to asbestos

Birmingham Specialities Ltd was fined on 24th August after workers were exposed to asbestos fibres whilst demolishing an internal wall under instruction from their manager.

 

It was discovered during the trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court that there was no asbestos survey completed before the demolition of the wall, or an up to date asbestos management plan for the premises.

 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) completed an investigation looking at the cause of the incident and found that asbestos insulation sheets were removed unsafely without proper precautions and by unlicensed individuals from the company. It was also discovered that there were no safeguards in place to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres, likely as a result of there being no asbestos survey completed.

 

Birmingham Specialities Ltd of Moor Lane, Birmingham pled guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

 

The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay charges of £2,454.

 

Speaking after the hearing at Birmingham Magistrates court, HSE inspector Tariq Khan said:

 

“Asbestos in buildings needs to be managed or removed by competent contractors. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. The company needed to follow the proper procedures by carrying out an asbestos survey and formulating an asbestos management plan as well as training those responsible for managing asbestos”.

 

Asbestos is a dangerous material and singular fibres are undetectable to the naked eye. It has been linked with Mesothelioma, a lung cancer, and is therefore highly dangerous. Asbestos has not been used as a building material since the 1970’s yet can still be found in older buildings.