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Unlicensed Asbestos Removal Will Be Penalised

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning the building trade that companies and contractors will face prosecution if they remove asbestos without a licence.

It follows HSE's successful prosecution of three contractors who carried out unlicensed asbestos removal at Kelford School in Rotherham in 2006.

Mansell Build Ltd (previously Birse Build Ltd) of Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire,was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay £12,500 costs. Andrew Brightmore, a former manager of ARB Agriplant Ltd was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £500 costs and Gary Cusack was fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 costs. Both are of Thurcroft, Rotherham. All were prosecuted for health and safety breaches at Rotherham Magistrates' Court.

Mansell Build Ltd, the principal contractor, was employed to carry out work to remove asbestos insulating board ceilings at the school. The work should have been carried out by a contractor licensed by HSE, but the company contracted to carry out the work, ARB Agriplant Ltd, did not have a licence.

Now in administration, ARB Agriplant Ltd then subcontracted the work to Gary Cusack, another unlicensed contractor.

All contractors failed to implement basic requirements to prevent the spread and exposure to asbestos to both those removing the materials and to others working at the school at the time.

After the removal work had been completed, Mansell Build Ltd allowed other contractors to work in those areas without verifying which areas were free from asbestos. It was then found that these areas were contaminated with asbestos.

Following the incident ARB Agriplant Ltd provided a forged asbestos licence and a falsified clearance certificate to Mansell Build Ltd, claiming that the work had been undertaken by a licensed contractor and that the area was free from asbestos.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector David Bradley said:

"Those responsible for employees have a legal duty to protect their health and safety and in the case of asbestos they should know that any disturbance of such a dangerous material should only be tackled by licensed workers.

"In this case, the contractors responsible put others in a dangerous situation, which could have been avoided had the work been carried out by a licensed contractor.

"Asbestos is the biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, which is why there are strict rules in place to prevent exposure. HSE has published a wealth of advice for employers to help them reduce the risks associated with asbestos."

Around 4,000 people a year die from asbestos-related diseases. For more information here.

Notes

1. Mansell Build Limited and Andrew Brightmore were charged under Section 3(1) Health & Safety at Work Act which states: 'It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.'

2. Gary Cusack was charged under section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work Act which states: 'It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, Page 5 that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.'

Source : HSE

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