Factory Removal & Refurbishment Continue to Place Workers at Risk of Asbestos
A construction firm has been fined along with a second company after steel work that was no longer in use was removed, putting workers at risk of exposure to asbestos. The firm, who specialise in metal-recycling, agreed to remove the steel work in order to recycle it as a fee for the work carried out.
However, it is all alleged that an oversight from the company has put its workers at risk because of a failure to spot lagging on the steel contained asbestos. Workers were allegedly put at further risk when the firm also failed to implement measures to avoid the spread of asbestos fibres.
Why is Asbestos so Dangerous?
In the 1970’s certain types of asbestos were banned and by the end of the 1980’s all forms of asbestos were banned from use anywhere.
Exposure to asbestos can lead to multiple conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaques and pleural thickening. Many of these conditions are known as “long tail” conditions meaning it can take several years between exposure to a substance and the development of the condition.
Mesothelioma is particularly severe as exposure can be as little as one fibre and life expectancy from diagnosis is usually around 18 months.
Asbestos Fine’s and Sanctions
The HSE have highlighted that there is still a very present danger amongst the construction and refurbishment industry involving the removal of material containing Asbestos. Asbestos kills over 4,500 people each year although many people do not understand the serious nature of asbestos exposure.
In this particular case all parties in question have been fined a total in excess of £29,000, however other recent punishments for exposing employees have totalled fines (including legal costs) of close to £35,000.
Firms are also being urged to read and understand the ‘Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006’, to better understand and prevent further exposure from happening.
Speaking after the case a HSE Inspector said:
“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and there is a lot of industry in the Teesside area that still uses, or occupies premises that have old chemical processing pipes dating back to the 60’s. Almost all of it was lagged with asbestos in those days.
Site operators and contractors working at these sites should always assume that old pipework is lagged with asbestos unless there is reliable evidence that says otherwise. Those involved in the construction and refurbishment industry also have a clear duty to ensure that work is managed so as to prevent the spread of asbestos”.
Contact Us for Further Asbestos Information & Advice
If you would like to find out more about our claims process and how we can help you to get the Asbestosis compensation you deserve, contact us on 0800 001 4496 for a free initial consultation where we will explain the options available to you.