Contractor taped plastic bags around exposed asbestos

Grant Prior 6 years ago
Share

Workers were ordered to tie plastic bags around damaged asbestos insulation boards and carry on working for months during a demolition and refurbishment project in Swansea.

Neath Magistrates’ Court heard the project was badly managed, with untrained staff put in charge of the operation, and was underpinned by inadequate surveys for the presence of asbestos and poor planning throughout.

Engineering firm Wall Colmonoy Ltd had contracted Oaktree Construction to renovate a building opposite its premises in Pontardawe, Swansea, in December 2010.

The engineering firm had two asbestos management surveys for the site which identified the presence of the material.

Despite this, work was allowed to begin in the building, even though Oaktree had been advised by the HSE that a separate ‘Refurbishment and Demolition Survey’ was also required before any activity commenced.

During the demolition works an asbestos insulation board covering a steel column was damaged.

A Wall Colmonoy employee was told to tape plastic bags around it while work continued for several months with the board debris left on the floor until an unannounced visit was carried out by an HSE inspector.

A subsequent HSE investigation found that Wall Colmonoy failed to appoint a competent Construction, Design and Management co-ordinator and principal contractor to plan and manage the construction work.

The firm also ignored advice from its own health and safety manager to notify HSE of the demolition phase of the project, as is required by law.

Wall Colmonoy also failed to provide a proper assessment of the presence of asbestos and no-one involved in the management of the project had the skills, training or experience to address health and safety issues.

The HSE investigation also found that Oaktree failed to prevent the exposure of its employees to asbestos, and failed to control its spread once it had been damaged.

Wall Colomony, of Pontardawe, was fined a total of £16,000 after pleading guilty to safety breaches while Oaktree of Trebanos, was fined £8,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Anne Marie Orrells said: “Both companies involved in this case demonstrated significant failings throughout the management of the project, which put the lives of their respective workers at risk.

“Demolition and refurbishment work must be properly planned and managed by competent personnel with the right training and experience.

“Proper structural and asbestos surveys must be made and a full risk assessment carried out for all the work to be undertaken.

“Had a Refurbishment and Demolition survey been undertaken, and had a licensed asbestos contractor been used to removal all asbestos materials prior to the work starting, then the risk would have been eliminated.

“Instead this inadequate response left workers exposed to asbestos fibres, which can cause potentially fatal lung disease. The health and safety of workers must not be left to chance.”

Latest news

Shake-up for £2.9bn MoD hard FM contracts

Post-Carillion bid race for MoD estate and housing regional FM contracts
6 hours ago

Caddick takes workforce plastic-free

Workers given aluminium drinks bottles in bid to bin single-use plastics
3 hours ago

Wates wins 7th Leeds Wellington Place job

Work will start of £35m 4 Wellington Place project next month
13 hours ago

Kier targets £50m disposals to cut £375m debt

Firm sets out debt reduction plan in robust year-end results
18 hours ago

Betting Spy: Spurs to shrug off recent troubles

Tottenham can kick-start a win treble with Leicester and Crystal Palace
4 hours ago

Keltbray concrete structures boss exits

Keltbray Structures MD Gordon Dunne on gardening leave
1 day ago

141 jobs axed as M&E specialist George Birchall fails

Larger FM business George Birchall Service avoids administration
18 hours ago

Morgan Sindall bags £384m London scheme first phase

Hackney scheme includes an academy, leisure centre and six blocks of flats
18 hours ago

Mace confirms £180m Olympic Park East Village deal

Firm will fine-tune its 'rising factory' method on the No6 East Village project
18 hours ago

Contractor trials mixed reality headsets on school site

BIM and Microsoft HoloLens used to check M&E work
2 days ago

PM pledges extra £2bn for housing associations over 10 years

Longterm funding will be made available from 2022-2029
2 days ago

Jacobs to lead Edinburgh city centre transformation plan

Team will set out plan for historic overhaul of streets and public space
2 days ago

Costain and Galliford Try fined £2.8m after worker loses toes

Massive fine after accident at Cheshire water treatment works
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
5 months ago

Van Elle shareholders stage AGM revolt

Shareholders block board's ability to issue new shares for acquisitions
2 days ago

£100m Bristol sports arena plan at Ashton Gate stadium

Sports and convention centre will be attached to Lansdown Stand
2 days ago

Balfour Beatty raises £43m from hospital stake sale

Balfour sells 50% stake in Fife Hospital PPP
2 days ago

Kier offloads pensions unit for £3.5m

Third party pension management business administers half of all police pension
3 days ago

Willmott Dixon clinches £38m Winchester sports centre

Work to start in Spring 2019 on major leisure and sports complex
2 days ago

Architect TP Bennett reaches record turnover

Manchester office grows on back of city building boom
2 days ago

Brexit migration plan would “cripple construction”

Industry pleas ignored over need for steady flow of low-skilled site workers
3 days ago

Wates wins £16m Stockport college revamp

Work is due to start in the early new year on Wellington Road Campus
2 days ago

Balfour Beatty pioneers plastic pylons in Scotland

140 composite poles installed by new helicopter crane in just five days
3 days ago

Plan for 55-storey Manchester student skyscraper

Plans submitted for 168m tall red brick tower at Hulme Street
3 days ago

Crossrail sparks threaten stoppages over lack of loos

Electricians threaten to down tools at Bond Street station site
3 days ago

37 firms to pitch innovations for Heathrow expansion

Search for Heathrow’s Innovation Partners progresses for 3rd runway
3 days ago

Engie lands £52m Newbury PRS deal from Grainger

Construction to start by end of year on new "urban village"
3 days ago

Former Severfield boss joins Billington as chairman

Ian Lawson returns to constructional steelwork after recovering from illness
3 days ago

Czech facade specialist wins second scheme in Manchester

Sipral wins facade package for twin tower flats
3 days ago

Keepmoat closes West Midlands office after £13m hit

House builder aims to build more than 4,000 homes this year
3 days ago

Contractor services