School and contractor fined for unsafe removal of asbestos
A school and its maintenance contractor have been fined after workers disturbed asbestos at the school while installing a new heating system.
A company had been contracted by the school, to install a new heating system in the school building. In the course of the work, during February 2019, ceiling tiles containing asbestos were disturbed, potentially exposing several people to asbestos fibres.
The HSE’s investigation found that the contractor and the school both failed to refer to existing asbestos registers and management plans to identify the presence of asbestos within the school building.
The school pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £3000 with £4785.37 costs.
The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £2,000 with £4,710.37 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, An HSE Inspector commented, “The dangers associated with asbestos are well known and advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations. Those in charge of premises have a duty to inform contractors of the presence of asbestos containing materials, ensuring that works are carried out safely. Those undertaking work which is likely to disturb asbestos, or asbestos containing materials, should ensure that building occupants and operatives are not exposed to asbestos. Those undertaking the work should also provide suitable information, instruction and training to their employees. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”