The HSE have fined a wood processing company for unsafe asbestos work that they carried out on their own work premises in Macclesfield.
The case was heard at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court.
On the 20th October 2016, the company known as Wood Treatment Ltd, were asked by the HSE to fit new explosion relief panels to an asbestos cement clad warehouse after a large explosion occurred at the Bosley site.
But when the HSE revisited the site to carry out an assessment, they discovered that the asbestos cement panels in the warehouse had been removed, reshaped and replaced.
This action was in breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The investigation by the HSE revealed that an external company had been initially contracted to fit the explosion relief panels, but they didn’t work with asbestos containing materials.
Wood Treatment Limited decided instead to use their own employees to remove the cladding.
Once the panels were installed, some holes needed to be repaired in the wall, and so the old asbestos sheets were cut to size and refitted.
The company never shared the fact there was asbestos present with employees, and no safety measures were put in place, even though they’d had an asbestos survey done and an action plan put in place.
As a result of their breach of the health and safety at Work Act 1974, Wood Treatment Ltd of Tunstall Road, Bosley, Macclesfield, were fined £2,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £3,000 and an additional victim surcharge of £170.
Ian Betley, HSE inspector, said after the court case, “Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year, but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibers are released into the air.”
“Asbestos should only be removed by specialist contractors and Wood Treatment Ltd put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures.”
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