A food corporation and its supplier have reportedly been fined after the disturbance of asbestos during construction work and only found by accident when an asbestos clearance contractor is at the site. The case highlights the need to ensure that asbestos surveys are performed and commissioned by businesses and entrepreneurs before the project starts.
If work is to be carried out between asbestos-containing products (which are believed to contain asbestos or suspected to contain asbestos), so an Asbestos survey must be done before work is completed as part of the health and safety risk assessment process. The purpose of a survey on asbestos is:
- Find and report the quantity and locations of asbestos that is containing asbestos
- Document the readiness, quality and surface materials of asbestos.
- Identify what kinds of asbestos are contained inside asbestos materials.
Asbestos Surveys are of two kinds:
During the day-to-day use of a building, a management survey aims to manage risk of asbestos containing materials. The survey is aimed at ensuring that nobody accidentally disturbs the asbestos products and that nobody is harmed by the existence of asbestos.
Such an examination is necessary when construction on or on the property is necessary. To conduct this type of survey a licensed surveyor is usually required.
- Work on asbestos bearing goods would not damage anyone.
- Work needed shall be performed in the proper manner by the right contractor.
Importance of survey
The Court recently heard that no Asbestos Survey has been carried out by any firm prior to the beginning of its work, with the participation of food industry, Mizkan Euro Ltd. and contractor DH Welton (which involved the demolition of an external wall to remove some tanks from the factory). Since risk assessment had not been done properly, the demolition of the wall caused the unconscious breaking down of an asbestos insulation board at the top of the wall. There was a skip of demolition rubble that included asbestos detected by an asbestos contractor called to the site. A licensed asbestos removal contractor should have been appointed for the operation to take place properly until the wall is demolishing the asbestos in regulated conditions. Both firms are found guilty of the violation, in the absence of an appropriate risk appraisal, of sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Act on Health and Safety at Work etc. DH Welton has already been found to violate the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 in Regulation 5(1)(a). Regulation 5 calls on employers to identify the occurrence and status of asbestos prior to the initiation of any asbestos stormy construction or repair work. It also lays down the obligation to conduct a report if the details on the occurrence of asbestos is missing or is not accurate. Mizkan Euro Ltd was fined a total of £120,000 for failure to conduct an asbestos survey, while DH Welton was fined £45,000. Costs had to be paid from all sides.
Combining asbestos check may seem to have been a waste of time and money, especially if there is a little work to be done; however, as the above case indicates failure to carry out an appropriate risk assessment on or around products containing asbestos can lead to tough fines by the Court. Fisher Scoggins Waters is an expert firm based in London that specializes in design, production and engineering. When you just had an incident in the office with health and safety and you need legal advice.