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Failure to identify asbestos put workers at risk

A Cardiff company has been fined for putting the health of demolition workers at risk after a building survey failed to identify the presence of asbestos.

Between 15th and 25th January 2010 PHH Environmental (UK) Ltd was commissioned to produce an asbestos survey on the soon to be demolished Old Castle Cinema in Merthyr Tydfil.

Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court heard that PHH's client relied on this survey to help its demolition company plan the work. But once demolition was underway, workers discovered asbestos and found they had disturbed it.

PHH Environmental (UK) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

HSE inspector Steve Richardson investigated the case. He said:

"Anyone carrying out refurbishment or demolition work relies upon accurate asbestos surveys to reduce the risk of them being exposed to deadly asbestos fibres. It is essential that those surveys are comprehensive, intrusive and undertaken by competent persons - if not lives are needlessly put at risk."

When asbestos fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases which are responsible for around 4,000 deaths a year.

 

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