Construction Workers exposed to asbestos despite survey
Four electricians from national utility contracting firm have been exposed to asbestos after drilling through 44 door transom panels to fit electric cables. The incident took place at Anderson Tower in Motherwell.
An asbestos survey was carried out before the work began, but it omitted to check the transom panels. Because the electricians were therefore unaware of the presence of asbestos in the transom panels, they had taken no measure to protect themselves or the environment from airborne asbestos fibres.
It was only after a resident raised the alarm that work was stopped and the panels tested.
Once asbestos was discovered, residents were removed to safety whilst action was taken to decontaminate the flats.
An HSE investigation found that company had failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work to identify the presence of asbestos in the transom panels and failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk to their employees from asbestos when carrying out cable routing work.
The Paisley based outfit was fined a total of £6,000 after pleading guilty to safety breaches.
Gerry Muir HM Inspector of Health and Safety said:
“This incident could have easily been avoided if the company had in place a system of work to ensure that the asbestos survey it requested to be carried out covered all of the intended work areas. Failing to do this resulted in 44 asbestos panels being drilled into with no measures in place to control the risk of exposure to the resultant asbestos fibres.”
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