A housing trust and two elevator companies fined after failing to manage asbestos during refurbishment works
The Trust and two firms were fined a total of £23, 520 including court costs for failing to protect staff and clients from exposure to asbestos fibres
The Anchor Trust and PC Lifts, based In London, and Express Elevators Ltd, based in West Yorkshire, were fined after pleading guilty to various breeches of asbestos related legislation, after refurbishment work at its premises in Alnwick lead to staff and residents being exposed to asbestos.
In November 2012, The Anchor Trust, which provided housing and care for the elderly, employed PC Lifts to remove an existing lift and contracted Express Elevators Ltd to install the new loft at St Paul’s Court sheltered housing scheme.
Bedlington Magistrates’ Court heard that the lift shaft contained asbestos boards, which PC Lifts removed without putting any measures in place to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told that Anchor Trust had a duty as the client to ensure that the lift replacement works were suitable and there was no risk to health. It was found that they failed in this duty as they provided Express Elevators Ltd with conflicting information and, although a Refurbishment and Demolition asbestos survey was provided, it was not sufficiently accurate or detailed enough for the work being carried out.
The HSE prosecuted that Express Elevators Ltd failed in its duty to plan and manage the work as it did not make adequate inquiries about the presence of asbestos. The company relied on verbal information from The Anchor Trust and although it received the Refurbishment and Demolition asbestos survey , no reference was made to it before work began.
And in addition, PC Lifts was also found not to have made adequate inquiries and to have worked in the lift shaft without adequate lighting. These factors may have contributed to the company’s failure in identifying the asbestos. Asbestos boards were broken out from the top of the lift shaft, but no measures were put in place to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres through the building.
The HSE stated that the combined failures of all three parties led to the unsafe removal of the asbestos and the potential spread of asbestos fibres, which exposed residents and others to a potential risk to their health.
Anchor Trust, of Bedford Street, London, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £346.40 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. Express Elevators Ltd, of Otley Road, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire was fined £8,000 with £827.30 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2) of the same legislation. PC Lifts Ltd, of St John Street, London, was fined £4,000 with £346.40 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
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