A construction company involved in asbestos removal in Wiltshire has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Winchester Crown Court for removing asbestos materials in an unsafe way.
Sarum Asbestos had been called in to carry out an asbestos survey and arrange for any identified to be removed before demolition work could begin on the Forresters Respite Centre in Hythe.
But an investigation into the work conducted revealed that the company had failed to ensure the job had been done in a safe way and by competent personnel. It also failed to carry out further testing on the site to make sure the material had been removed safely – and consequently, members of staff and the public were put at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.
Adam Wycherley, inspector with the HSE, commented on the case, saying: “Around 3000 people a year die from asbestos related disease and it is a well-known risk within the construction industry, there is no excuse for putting people at risk when the hazards can be controlled with careful management during work with asbestos containing materials.”
HSE figures show that around 5,000 workers each year die because of asbestos – more than the number of people killed on the roads annually. About 20 tradesmen die every week because of past exposure – and it’s also worth noting that asbestos can be present in any building either built or refurbished before the year 2000.
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