A Wokingham business has been fined for serious safety failings after two subcontractors were exposed to asbestos fibres while undertaking work at Reading University.
Gardner Mechanical Services Ltd were contracted to undertake a mechanical services upgrade in a room at the University. They hired a Newbury-based contractor to undertake the project, who then in turn subcontracted two self-employed men, Andrew Lloyd and Steve Taylor, carry out the work.
Reading Magistrates court heard that on 2 September 2009 the two men were required to drill through a sprayed asbestos ceiling coating. It was reported that they were not made aware that asbestos was present and therefore thought any asbestos material had been removed by specialist contractors prior to their work starting.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the principal contractor Gardner Mechanical Services was aware that some asbestos-containing materials had been left on the site. The prosecution therefore stems from the fact they failed to relay this information to the subcontractors in a reliable way.
Gardner Mechanical Services Ltd, of Grovelands Avenue Workshops, Winnersh, Wokingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 23(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The firm was fined a total of £28,000 and ordered to pay £22,631 in costs.
The most reliable way to inform contractors of any asbestos containing materials is by ensuring a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey is undertaken on the property. This survey must be made available to anyone undertaking works. If the material outlined in the Survey has been removed then this should be indicated by the removal contractors and waste notes provided.
For a competitive quote for such a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey or a Management Survey, or any of your asbestos related requirements, please call the office on 0161 763 3727.
Published Oct 11, 2012