Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Two Further Safety Reminders Of Asbestos Risks
Posted by David Cant on July 12, 2013
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asbestos surveys birminghamI wrote recently about an incident in which a building firm dismantled some asbestos roof tiles without taking the proper precautions, exposing employees, workers in nearby offices and members of the public. Astonishingly last week we have heard of a further two incidents of this happening.

It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is to get a full and thorough health and safety inspection and implement appropriate safety measures in any building or renovation project which involves older buildings, in case of the presence of asbestos.

Usually this involves roof tiles, and so any roof or ceiling work must take this risk into account, but any building work on an older property needs to evaluate the potential risks and implement stringent safety measures to ensure that there is no risk to anyone, whether they be workers or people in the nearby vicinity.

Cladding Installation Involves Asbestos Soffit Boards

A cladding installation firm in Bedfordshire were carrying out refurbishment work on a property which involved the removal of the existing soffit boards. Whilst not always the case, there is always a risk that older soffit boards include asbestos material. For this reason any work involving the soffit boards must begin with a thorough check to identify whether asbestos is present, and if so, implement appropriate safety measures.

However in this case, despite knowing that there was a potential risk, the cladding firm went ahead with the work. A neighbour informed the owner of the cladding firm that the soffit boards did in fact contain asbestos, but Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard this week that this warning was apparently ignored.

As a result the workers employed by the cladding firm were exposed to asbestos filaments which can cause mesothelioma, a fatal disease, and of course there was a very real risk to both the occupants of the house and the neighbours. PMF Cladding, the company in question, were fined £7,015 and ordered to pay £3,200 in costs after pleading guilty to four separate breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Demolition Results In Significant Exposure To Asbestos

Meanwhile this week has also seen a Birmingham based building firm similarly taking a very casual approach to the idea of asbestos removal, in this case with the demolition of a garage.

G Builders of Birmingham were tasked with the demolition and removal of a garage, the property owner having received a grant from Birmingham City Council to convert the garage into a bedroom and bathroom for his disabled father.

Because the City Council were involved samples were taken of the garage to check for the presence of asbestos, which in such situations is a legal requirement. However, rather than waiting for the results of these tests to be known the building firm continued with the demolition and removal of the garage. This involved them using hammers to smash apart the panels which, the test results subsequently showed, were indeed asbestos.

The building firm had placed both their workers and the homeowners at very grave risk, and the clean-up operation cost the City Council over £6,500. The firm were fined £2,000 with costs of £1,200.

In any situation where renovation, remodelling, demolition or other building works are to take place on a property which is wholly or even partly older than thirty years it is essential to implement all proper health and safety requirements in the right manner. For expert help and advice on this call one of our health and safety advisors on 0800 1488 677 today.


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

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