Two Devon companies have been fined after workers were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos.
A recent announcement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd started work on a house in Jubilee Close, Ilfracombe, despite not receiving an asbestos survey from North Devon Homes.
The company instead relied on information from North Devon Homes’ website for contractors. This was not specific to each property being worked on and was incomplete or misleading. As a result, asbestos insulation boards were disturbed and the workers exposed.
The incident, on 27 September 2012, was investigated by the HSE, which prosecuted North Devon Homes for safety failings at Barnstaple Magistrates Court.
North Devon Homes Ltd, of Westacott Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to a breach of Construction (Design Management) Regulations and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £650.
Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd, of Pilton Street, Pilton, Barnstaple pleaded guilty to two breaches of Control of Asbestos Regulations at an earlier hearing before the same court (on 8 October) and was fined £1,500 with £642 costs.
Barry Trudgian, HSE inspector, said:
“As a result of North Devon Homes’ failure to provide the required information and Pilkington not waiting for the asbestos details before starting work, two workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos.
“The risks associated with asbestos in housing stock are well-known and the regulations governing its removal are long-standing. This incident could have been avoided if Pilkington had carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the work liable to disturb asbestos.”