Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Asbestos Exposure Lands Two Firms in Court
Posted by David Cant on July 27, 2012
1 Comment

Workers were exposed to the deadly material, asbestos, when working on a cruise ship.  The team were carrying out some refurbishments on the Hebridean Princess after being commissioned by All Leisure Holidays and Andrew Weir Shipping. Two men has been contracted in to remove some wooden panelling and the celling, but neither of the firms took the time to commission an asbestos survey before the self-employed men began work.

The cruise ship had been built back in 1964.  After a refit the ship was purchased in 2009 by All Leisure Holidays who asked Andrew Weir Shipping to take responsibility of managing the ship. The two men began working in December when the ship was docked at Middlesbrough.  On their second working day the shipyard told the men they needed to stop working as they suspected that asbestos was present. Tests were conducted and the shipyards fears were confirmed as they discovered some asbestos fibres inside the room and in the debris which had been left from the work which had already been carried out.

Previous Asbestos Finds Were Passed onto New Owners

The Health and Safety Executive investigated and discovered that Andrew Weir Shipping had previously conducted an asbestos survey back in 2008.  This was because the previous ship owners had already been aware that some ceiling panels were concealing asbestos in one part of the ship.  This information should have been enough to commission a full survey by the new owners as it was highly likely the material would have been found elsewhere, and it was.

All Leisure Holidays were told of the asbestos survey from 2008 but they did not recognise that the report was not sufficient enough for workers to come in and work.  Both of the firms pleaded guilty for failing to meet Regulation 5 and Regulation 11 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations. Andrew Weir Shipping also pleaded guilty for breaching Regulation 16 of the same Regulations.  They were fined £12,000 and also told to pay court costs of £5,829.  All Leisure Holidays were fined a total of £6,000 with an additional £5,640 in costs.

Use Health and Safety Services to Detect Asbestos

The two men in this case were exposed to asbestos fibres which can lead to fatal diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.  If the two companies had followed the Control of Asbestos Regulations a complete asbestos survey would have spotted the danger and led to the safe removal of the deadly material, providing the firms acted on the findings of the report.

With 4,000 asbestos related deaths in the UK alone it is essential to protect your workers and contractors from exposure to the fibres.  An asbestos survey will inform you of the asbestos which is present and from there you can ensure the removal of the substance is performed in controlled safe conditions.  All buildings and ships could contain asbestos if they were built before the year 2000.  If you would like to find out more about surveys contact the health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677 and ask about their health and safety services.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Asbestos Surveys, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

One Comment

  1. January 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Not having a survey on such an old ship is a really big oversight, especially as asbestos was heavily used in the 1960’s. Hopefully All Leisure Holidays and Andrew Weir Shipping have learnt their lesson and have now implemented stricter guidelines for working on their old ships.

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