The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to take extra care when demolishing buildings containing asbestos cement sheets.
The warning comes after Wye Valley Demolition Ltd of St Weonards, Hereford, was today (18th May) fined £6,000 and asked to pay costs of £13,621.49 at Hereford Magistrates’ Court following the release of asbestos during the demolition of a former grain store building in Bodenham.
Joy Jones HSE Principal Inspector for Construction said:
“People working in the construction industry need to exercise caution when working in areas that may contain asbestos. Asbestos should not be treated lightly as it causes 3,500 deaths in Britain each year, with annual numbers predicted to go on rising into the next decade. All people working in areas that may contain asbestos need to be aware of the dangers to others and the financial penalties imposed if asbestos is mishandled. The risks from asbestos cement are lower than from other asbestos materials but contractors still need to take proper precautions.”
This prosecution followed an incident between 25 and 29 June 2004 during the demolition of a former grain store building at Chapel Lane, Bodenham. The building contained asbestos cement sheets which should have been removed under controlled conditions but which instead were smashed to the ground by a machine then spread over the demolition site.
Wye Valley Demolition Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 10(1) and Regulation 15 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002