Significant failures of safety by a plumbing company may have led to two workers being exposed to asbestos fibres during a major refurbishment project in Aberystwyth.
The workers were a site manager and a subcontractor, and they were not provided with information about the presence of asbestos while working on the project between November 2010 and February 2011.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was carrying out a routine inspection when they found contractors carrying out work on the project without taking into account that asbestos may be present.
The workers had removed 82 metres of cement boards, which a survey had previously identified as ‘presumed to contain asbestos’, but breaking it up with a hammer and transferring it into a wheelbarrow with a shovel. It was then placed in a general waste skip.
The contractor worker was then due to do the same on another two properties, one of which had asbestos confirmed as present in the soffits.
The HSE investigation found that the plumbing firm, Superior Plumbing, had made no effort to obtain asbestos surveys that existed for the properties to be refurbished to determine if asbestos was present; neither did they assess the risk of working with asbestos on the construction site.
The firms also failed to properly plan removal of asbestos material and hired a site manager that had not been given asbestos awareness training.
Swain & Co.’s injury claim solicitors say that the firms failures to follow guidance, advice and their own procedures to identify the risk of being exposed to asbestos and a plan to dispose of it means that they have needlessly created a serious long term health risk to workers on the site.
Contractors must ensure that asbestos surveys are carried out when a building, or part of it, needed upgrading, refurbishing or demolishing.
Around 4,000 people die every year as a result of inhaling asbestos fibres. This makes it the biggest single cause of work related deaths in the UK.
If you have been exposed to asbestos due to your employers health and safety failings, call us for a free consultation to discuss the possibility of bringing a claim.
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