Refurb foreman kept in dark over asbestos threat

Grant Prior 3 years ago
Share

A Battersea contractor has been fined for failing to highlight the known presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) at a Berkshire warehouse.

The move exposed a foreman and others to potential harm when it was ripped out during refurbishment work.

Redwood Contractors Ltd was in possession of a detailed asbestos survey that clearly identified the location of the asbestos wall panels inside the building in Wokingham.

But the survey wasn’t shared with the team on the ground.

So when a foreman mistook the AIB for asbestos cement – a lower risk material – it was removed without adequate control measures and protective equipment.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard that AIB should only be removed by a licensed asbestos contractor because of the risk of exposure to the dangerous fibres contained within it.

HSE established that the site foreman wasn’t provided with any documentation or other information about the panels.

This was despite an asbestos survey being completed just two months prior to the work starting.

Because the foreman was unaware that the panels were made from AIB, the wrong kind of control measures were in place when he removed them.

He and others could therefore have unwittingly inhaled asbestos fibres, which can cause terminal health conditions.

Redwood Contractors Ltd, of London, SW11, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,857 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate safety breaches.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Karen Morris commented: “It is disappointing that the foreman and others were needlessly put at risk simply because the asbestos survey for the warehouse wasn’t supplied to the team on the ground, or the location of the AIB relayed.

“What is the point of having a suitable survey in hand if you aren’t going to act on it and share vital information with those who need to know?

“Sadly, breakdowns in communication of this kind are all too common, but that doesn’t excuse Redwood Contractors from failing to do more.

“The company is guilty of a clear oversight that may have compromised the future health and wellbeing of its workers.

“Everyone knows that asbestos is a potential killer, and the onus is on duty holders to implement proper control measures at all times when dealing with asbestos.”

Latest news

Middlewood Locks fast-tracked with £35m HCA loan

Chinese builder BCEG prepares for phase 2 start
1 hour ago

Green light for 800-home Thoresby Colliery regen

Around 800 homes to be built on site of Nottinghamshire's last deep mine
28 mins ago

Urban&Civic buys huge housing scheme from administrators

Developer steps in to take over Priors Hall site in Northamptonshire
5 hours ago

BBC backs Interserve with £140m contract extension

Contractor lands maintenance deal until 2023 across broadcaster's vast estate
6 hours ago

Midas set for £45m Southampton student halls

Developer is awaiting planning for 12-storey student room complex
5 hours ago

Javid floats borrow to build housing plan

Minister makes case for 300,000 house building programme
6 hours ago

Wates fined £640,000 for carbon monoxide blunder

Resident raises alarm after live flue blocked during work on 13-storey block of flats
6 hours ago

Plan for £40m Chester medical school

Chester University hopes to start construction in Spring 2019
6 hours ago

Peabody seeks partner for £3.5bn Thamesmead new town

Housing charity advances 11,500-home Thamesmead Waterfront plan
6 hours ago

Vinci looking for new suppliers on university job

Package contractors wanted for Swansea University job: Register your interest now
3 days ago

Highways England delays 22 major road projects

Programme rescheduling sees raft of projects delayed and 10 brought forward
3 days ago

Interserve lands £227m government maintenance deal

Contract wins still coming amid profit warnings
3 days ago

£345m confirmed for 76 local road projects – full list

Funding package includes £101m for a major project in Cheshire and one in Worcester
3 days ago

Four firms in race for Scottish road upgrade

Winner set to be announced next Spring for new stretch of A737
3 days ago

Aarsleff MD exits in management shake-up

Danish parent company to refocus UK business
4 days ago

Lagan Building on the hunt for new North West suppliers

Open day next week to highlight work opportunities: Register now
4 days ago

Betting Spy: West Ham can shock Spurs in the cup

Price is too big on visitors who could face a Tottenham second string
4 days ago

Interserve likely to breach banking covenants

Interserve in talks with banks as rising cost of exiting energy from waste prompts another profit warning
4 days ago

Hinkley chief buyer joins Murphy

Laing O'Rourke procurement head Ian Holcroft joins rival contractor
5 days ago

Marshalls expands in drainage market with CPM acquisition

Building products giant buys concrete pipe specialist for £38m
4 days ago

Lovell poaches Quintain director for London MD role

Ben Giddens joins as London regional managing director
5 days ago

Amey highways drivers wear anti-dozing collars

Contractor trials range of wearable technology to make workplaces safer
4 days ago

Skanska schools director joins Wates

Martin Kramer joins Wates as Home Counties pre-construction director
5 days ago

Clugston to start £13m Leeds College of Building job

Phase 2 of Hunslet Campus in Leeds gets underway
5 days ago

Architect trio advance £200m Gateshead Quay plan

Plan for conference and exhibition centre to be submitted by the end of next year
5 days ago

O’Rourke firms fined £3.8m after concrete factory death

Court hears how worker was crushed by 11 tonne concrete panel

Lendlease profit rebounds despite Scottish problems

UK construction business returns to strong profit
5 days ago

McAlpine to start HMRC office at Cardiff central square

Work to start on fourth major office build at £400m city centre regen scheme
5 days ago

Prime Minister summons house builders to strategy meeting

Theresa May looks to boost construction levels
5 days ago

Muse leads £75m Dartford town regen scheme

Work to start in spring 2019 on Westgate mixed-use scheme
6 days ago

Contractor services