Firms have been reminded to ensure they are up to scratch when it comes to dealing with asbestos, after a case involving a business and two of its subcontractors resulted in a fine being handed out.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated Gardner Mechanical Services after finding that two subcontractors it employed were unwittingly exposed to the deadly material. The firm was due to carry out a mechanical services upgrade but subcontracted Andrew Lloyd and Steve Taylor to complete the task.
They had not been made aware that the room they were asked to work on had an amount of asbestos within it and they drilled straight through a sprayed asbestos ceiling coating. In fact, the pair believed the substance had already been removed by experts.
Principal contractor Gardner Mechanical Services was found to have been aware that asbestos was present at the site and failed to inform the workers it employed.
As a result, it has now been fined £28,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 23(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
HSE inspector Adam Wycherley said: "This case highlights the importance of effective planning when addressing risks in construction, particularly in refurbishment, where there is a higher risk of coming into contact with asbestos.
"Gardner Mechanical Services had a clear duty of care to relay important information to its subcontractors in order to prevent their exposure to asbestos, but this simply did not happen."
Asbestos remains the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, so it is clear that it must be treated with extreme caution by company bosses. Firms that are able to do this and work safely may avoid both causing any harm to their staff and future HSE prosecutions.