Dealing with asbestos on any level has to be taken extremely seriously, and any minor slip up can lead to disastrous consequences for all concerned. Only the most foolhardy and reckless would risk so much when working with this potentially lethal material. Which is why it came as such a surprise when an established company based in Paisley were found guilty of exposing their own workers to asbestos whilst demolishing an old school building.
Health and Safety
Angus Group were part of a demolition project that involved a school owned by Lincolnshire County Council. When it was discovered that the Scottish firm had acted without due care and attention when removing a substantial amount of asbestos spray coating, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided to investigate the case fully. The findings were pretty definitive and the Angus Group were hit with a hefty £109,000 fine with a sizeable cost of £42,100 added to the amount. In such circumstances, building contractors are required to pass the removal work on to a licensed contractor who deals with asbestos regularly.
HSE started to realise that the further that they looked into the case of Angus Group’s handling of the school demolition project, the more issues were uncovered. The workforce were happy to use chisels to remove the asbestos coating and instead of using any protective screens, they carried on seemingly unaware of the immediate danger they were exposed to. The results of this work were simply bagged up outside the former school building without so much as a thought for any potential further danger. As well as being guilty of spreading this deadly dust whilst at work, the area seemed to be full of asbestos well after the project had ended. The state of the boiler room paid testament to the sloppy and careless attitude displayed by the Angus Group throughout this catastrophic demolition project. In fact, asbestos had eventually spread throughout the old building and despite their reputation as an experienced licensed contracting company, Angus Group showed very little, if any, sign of responsibility as far as dealing with the substance was concerned.
Dealing with asbestos
Working with a known killer such as asbestos is always going to involve a level of risk. But there are plenty of asbestos awareness training courses available to help reduce the chances of any dangerous outcomes. The Angus Group showed how not to work with asbestos and they rightfully paid the price. The HSE have approved a number of training courses and course providers who will be able to assist both individuals and whole workforces in how to work with and alongside asbestos threatened buildings. If you fear that you own employer is putting you at risk due to asbestos negligence, speak to the HSE immediately for assistance and advice. Asbestos is the silent killer and you could be fine for decades, but when it decides to strike, there is usually only one winner, and it isn’t going to be you.