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Asbestos removal firm fined for putting workers at risk

A licensed asbestos removal contractor has been fined for putting its workers at risk of exposure to the dangerous substance during a refurbishment project in Warwickshire.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted AG&M Ltd. for failing to properly maintain a decontamination unit and respiratory masks, and for failing to have a trained supervisor on site at a building in Station Road, Kenilworth.

Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that an inspector from HSE visited the site on 20 January 2011 and found the unit, which was essential to allow workers to clean themselves thoroughly after removing asbestos from the building, was substandard.

Of most concern was that the shower could not be used because the water in the hosepipe which supplied it had frozen.

Daily inspection records of the unit had not been completed so the company had also failed to identify a damaged vent, a broken door hinge and the shower compartment door not closing properly.

The court heard that two men, who were removing ceiling tiles containing amosite, or brown asbestos, from the building when the inspector visited, would not have realised there was no water supply until they were in the shower compartment.

They would not have been able to clean themselves until the water in the pipe had defrosted, which would have increased the risk of exposure and spread of asbestos.

AG&M Ltd., of Stocks Hill, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, was today found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,349 costs.


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