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

Serious Fraud Office launches probe into North West sites

Series of addresses searched over suspected fraud on developments in Liverpool and Manchester
1 day ago

Summer site start for £200m Birmingham mixed use scheme

Colmore Tang to build Connaught Square scheme featuring 27-storey tower
15 hours ago

Hitachi halts construction work at Wylfa nuclear site

Japanese giant fails to strike funding deal with UK government
2 days ago

Build-to-rent home construction jumps 40%

Number of rental homes in planning jumps 10% to over 60,000
15 hours ago

BAM wins £320m Scotland and North East railways deal

AmcoGiffen, Story Contracting and QTS also secure framework places
1 day ago

Galliard and O’Shea team up for £130m Nine Elms scheme

Plan for over 260 homes on one of seven plots at former Royal Mail site
1 day ago

20 consultants win £100m Homes England framework

Aecom, Atkins, Jacobs, Mace and WSP make new multi-disciplinary framework
1 day ago

Buyer deposits repaid as Manchester’s tallest tower axed

54-floor St John's Place residential tower pulled in face of cooling demand
2 days ago

Billionaire Warren Buffett targets UK construction insurance

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance enters market as contractors struggle for cover
2 days ago

Skilled trades pay rates hit £1000-a-week in Midlands

Self employed workers enjoyed wage rises of 6.7% last year
2 days ago

Kier boss leaves to become Rydon construction head

Mark Norris leaves operations director role at Kier after 13 months
2 days ago

Go-ahead for £60m Nottingham HMRC hub

Bowmer & Kirkland believed to be in line to build Unity Square offices
2 days ago

Crooked bookkeeper stole £100k from cladding contractor

Court hears how mother and daughter used company cash to fund their lifestyles
2 days ago

£50m stands approved for Lords cricket ground

Builder ISG to start in August on new Edrich and Compton stands
2 days ago

Roof trusses fall on labourer

Darlington Council fined for poor site management
2 days ago

Union demands “period dignity” on construction sites

Multiplex first contractor to sign-up with campaign for better site toilets
3 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
9 months ago

Van Elle profit warning after “challenging” quarter

Lower margin contracts drag down performance as restructuring continues
3 days ago

Balfour boss in Brexit blast at Chancellor

Leo Quinn highlights construction's fears in conference call with ministers
3 days ago

Wates wins £90m post-Grenfell reclad job

Work to start this summer on five tower blocks at North London's Chalcots Estate
3 days ago

Construction forecasters bet on delayed soft Brexit

Crystal ball gazers believe UK will avoid workload fall with sluggish growth in 2019
3 days ago

Plan for £300m Lincolnshire power station

Czech power firm plans energy from waste plant next to South Humber Bank power station
3 days ago

Fitzgerald returns Bovis Homes to record profits

Margins restored and completions up 3% after 18-month turnaround
3 days ago

Late payment bill boosts calls for project bank accounts

Second reading due as MP fights to protect subcontractors from Carillion-style collapses
3 days ago

Plant hire giant Hawk falls into administration

Administrators pledge to keep kit working on site as they look for a buyer
4 days ago

HS2 forces firms to use least polluting trucks and plant

Rail project raises bar to exceed London emission standards
4 days ago

Watkin Jones hits record profits as pipeline grows

Firm enjoys three-year pipeline of 24 student rooms and build to rent sites
4 days ago

South Eastern Electrical went down owing £4m to suppliers

Contracts sold by administrators to associated company SEE Rail
4 days ago

Carey wins £16m Stratford Waterfront civils package

Cladding and mechanical packages will come up for bid in next three months
4 days ago

Mace confirmed for £350m Paddington Cube

Erith, Keltbray, J Coffey and Getjar chase basement contract
4 days ago

Contractor services