Monthly Archives: March 2015

£55,000 pay-out for multiple failings after routine inspection

A waste and recycling site in Carmarthen was in such a dangerous condition that visiting health and safety inspectors had to issue eight notices to immediately halt a range of work activities.

£55,000 pay-out for multiple failings after routine inspectionThe site run by Mekatek Ltd at Amex Park, Johnstown was subject to a routine inspection by HSE inspectors on 20 May 2013 when a number of serious safety issues were discovered, including access to unguarded dangerous machinery, exposure to risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos containing materials.

At the end of February 2015 the court was told the site had a catalogue of dangerous points, including:

  • A “man basket” on a forklift truck to allow workers to carry out work at height. This basket was not secured to the forks of the truck and there was no cage behind the basket to stop workers becoming trapped with the fork lift truck mast.
  • There were no suitable guards to prevent workers getting caught in the moving machine parts of a granulator, two compactors, a shredder and a paint mixing drum.
  • Electrical cables were found trailing through liquid, leading to a risk of electrocution.
  • Exposed and damaged pipe lagging, which included asbestos containing materials, was in a poor state and exposed workers at the site to the risk of contamination. This was allowed to continue by Mekatek despite an earlier report by a specialist that had identified the presence of asbestos in the area and recommended its urgent removal.

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How to interpret asbestos survey exclusions

Asbestos surveyors are trained in and provide with the basic tools to carry out minor reinstatement however, that are not building operative and therefore there will be instances when they will not be able to access certain areas that are obscured by permanent or semi-permanent interior features of a property such as:Asbestos Surveys

  • MMMF pipework insulation – surveyors will make representative examinations but there remains a risk of later discovery during demolition/refurbishment.
  • Concealed voids – there may be materials hidden within structural elements which will only come to light during the actual demolition process.
  • Access for the survey may be restricted e.g. height, inconvenience to others, immovable obstacles (appliances, tiling, units etc.) or confined spaces.

The guidance provided on how to deal with these locations is very explicit, the HSG264 Paragraphs 53 and 54 deal with this, they emphasise that the surveys are intended to locate all the asbestos in the building “as far as reasonable practicable” and that the ‘surveyed’ area must be shown to be fit for reoccupation before people move back in. Read more