In the UK alone, more than 4,500 people die from asbestos related illnesses, making asbestos the single most dangerous killer in the construction industry. Some of the dangerous diseases related to asbestos contamination include lung cancer, mesothelioma, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and asbestosis. They all sound scary right? Well, they are scary, dangerous and expensive to treat too.
Being a highly dangerous material, it is important for you to seek the services of a qualified and licensed asbestos removal firm to help you remove asbestos insulations, sprayed asbestos coatings, and everything asbestos related.
Asbestos removal is a hazardous and high risk job and therefore licensed asbestos removal companies use highly trained individuals who are guided by specific working practices. Every licensed company needs to provide its workers with sophisticated respiratory protective equipment and are also legally required to have their employees undergo regular medical surveillance. Such measures and more specific ones (we could not list all of them here) just prove how dangerous unsafe asbestos removal can be. If you want an asbestos survey and removal, ensure you get the services of an HSE licensed removal company.
Even so, sadly, not all licensed companies live up to standards and so is the case with one asbestos removal Scotland Company. Let us have a look at what happened.
Asbestos firm’s errors exposed workers to hidden killer
This was the headline of an HSE press release after a Scotland based company-Angus Group Ltd-was found guilty of breaching 8 Control of Asbestos Regulations. The company was ordered to pay £42,100 in costs and a further £109,000 in fines. This is harsh punishment you think? Well, here are some of the happenings that led to the hefty fines.
In March 2012, Ermine Infants’ School on Thoresway Drive, Lincoln was demolishing a former school building as they had built new one. The contractors involved with the demolishing thought it prudent to seek the services of a licensed asbestos removal company to help them with asbestos removal and that is how Angus Group Ltd came into the picture.
Before the removal began, a survey was done and it identified various asbestos infested areas including the end walls of the school’s main hall. The wall was infested with sprayed asbestos coating and therefore needed to be removed by a licensed contractor under safe conditions.
Disregarding the survey, Angus Group Ltd went ahead to chisel off the asbestos coating with power tools and they did not even bother to use screens, air extraction tools, or enclosures to restrict the spread of the asbestos dust.
For work that was expected to take 7 days to complete, Angus Group Ltd only took a day and when the main contractors were told that the work was done they were equally surprised. Visiting the site the next day, they were surprised to find patches of asbestos material still on the wall and asbestos dust was all over the hall.
An assessment by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Angus Group Ltd used inadequate, segregation, enclosures, and containment measures. The removal process also lacked a plan and the employees lacked specific instructions. Also, the removal company never made any reference to the original asbestos survey report.
A health and safety analysis of the building found out that asbestos dust particles had spread throughout the building as 15 out of 34 samples had asbestos.
Negligence you think?
Mr. Martin Giles, an HSE inspector said after the hearing that Angus Group Ltd is an experienced removal company and they should have done better than risking the lives of their employees and of other people involved with the demolitions.
He also added that it is the duty of contractors and building owners to protect onsite personnel and all employees from the high risks and well-known dangers of asbestos contamination.
There are too many licensed asbestos removal companies out there. Not all of them will have your best interests at heart and it is only important that you find one that will not put you or your employees under any form of risk. The first step to safe removal of asbestos is to seek professional asbestos survey. At Veritas Consulting, we always go beyond expectations to ensure you get a comprehensive asbestos report. Contact us today and we will discuss your asbestos survey in detail.