Asbestos is an extremely hazardous substance. Alongside being a category I carcinogen, exposure can lead to a variety of other serious health conditions and is responsible for around 5,000 deaths per year in the UK alone. Yet dozens of contractors continue to receive fines every year for improper or unlicensed handling of asbestos containing materials.
A P3 respirator - such as the Custom-fit Easimask® - and other pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn when dealing with asbestos.
In Aril this year, an Oldham building contractor was fined following the uncontrolled removal of asbestos during a garage conversion.
The contractor stripped the garage ceiling and removed the material, leaving debris on site. The material was tested during a site visit was confirmed as being licensable asbestos containing material.
An HSE Investigation was undertaken and found that the removal of asbestos containing materials had been carried out without a license and without suitable control measures in place to prevent hazardous exposure.
Following a court case, the Oldham based contractor pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 11 (1) (a), Regulation 8 (1) and Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £1200 and ordered to pay costs of £1000.
Speaking after the hearing, an inspector from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Laura Royales, said: “Asbestos is a class 1 carcinogen which is responsible for around 5000 deaths per year.
“Prior to starting work on the property Mr Arshad should have had an asbestos survey carried out by a competent person. He should have then appointed a licensed contractor to remove the asbestos containing ceiling under controlled conditions. Instead he carelessly removed it himself, potentially putting himself and others at risk of exposure. Individuals and companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.
For more information on asbestos regulations, please visit: www.hse.gov.uk