A tour operator and a ship management firm have been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos fibres during refurbishment work on board a cruise ship.
An investigation by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the companies had instructed two self-employed labourers to remove ceiling panels and wooden fixings in the Tiree lounge of the cruise ship, without first carrying out the legally required asbestos survey.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard that All Leisure Holidays Ltd and Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd had arranged for refurbishment work to be carried out on the Hebridean Princess to reduce the amount of combustible material on the ship. The court heard that the Hebridean Princess, built in 1964, had a refit and was bought in April 2009 by All Leisure Holidays Ltd who engaged Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd to manage the vessel.
On 1 December 2009, the ship was docked in Middlesbrough and two labourers from Nottingham were instructed by Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd to begin removing the ceiling and wall panels in the Tiree Lounge. The next day they were told to stop work by the shipyard over concerns that there was asbestos behind the ceiling panels. Analysis tests confirmed that asbestos was present and asbestos fibres were also found in the debris the workers had left in the lounge the previous day.
The HSE argued that that Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd were in possession of an asbestos survey, which was carried out in 2008 for the previous owners. The survey identified asbestos behind some ceiling panels in another part of the ship. The court heard that this should have alerted them to the potential for asbestos to be present elsewhere. In addition, the prosecution stated that All Leisure Holidays Ltd were also given a copy of the 2008 survey when they purchased the ship but failed to identify that it was incomplete and was insufficient to allow the work to be carried out.
All Leisure Holidays Ltd, of Lynnern House,Victoria Way, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £5, 640.85 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 and Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd, of Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh, was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay £5,829.15 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5, Regulation 11(1)(b) and Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
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Published Sep 03, 2012