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Two construction companies have received a fine following refurbishment works they carried out on a Derby school where they removed asbestos ceiling tiles.
They received the fine because they allowed sub-contractors they had employed to be exposed to asbestos fibers.
The case was heard at Derby Crown Court.
Refurbishment works were carried out at Oakwood Junior school in Derby during the school holidays.
The court heard how two subcontractors proceeded to removes tiles from a suspended ceiling that contained asbestos.
They were unaware that the ceiling tiles contained any asbestos, therefore putting both themselves and others at risk.
It was only due to a licensed asbestos removal company that were working on site that the work was halted.
They alerted management to the presence of asbestos ceiling tiles and the asbestos contamination was promptly dealt with.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and discovered that the principal contractor for the project, Ashe Construction Limited , failed to prevent the accidental removal of the asbestos ceiling tiles.
Ashe Construction Limited failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor the work that was being undertaken.
They also failed to communicate information about the asbestos after it had been discovered.
There was no asbestos warning signage put up outside the room and no barriers.
The room should have been sealed off so that nobody could come into contact with the asbestos.
Cladceil Limited, a firm from Nottingham that were appointed by Ashe Construction Ltd to remove the suspended ceiling were also investigated.
The HSE found them guilty of failing to plan, manage and monitor the work on site.
They didn’t carry out the work themselves but brought in a sub-contractor.
The sub-contractor removed the suspended ceilings on their behalf.
However, they were only given a generic risk assessment and method statement from Cladceil, both of which failed to identify the risk of asbestos.
Both construction companies pleaded guilty to breaching the building regulations are were subsequently hit with an asbestos fine.
Ashe Construction Limited were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,759.76 after having pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Cladceil Limited pleaded were fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £47,184.48 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
Andrew Bowker, HSE inspector, said after the hearing, “The exposure to asbestos could so easily have been avoided if the two companies involved had put sufficient effort into planning, managing and monitoring the ceiling tile removal work. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
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