A building contractor has been fined after its workers were exposed to
asbestos fibres during refurbishment work at a premises in Swansea, South
Swansea magistrates heard on 27 October that principal contractor J C Irvine
was carrying out the refurbishment work without having conducted an asbestos
refurbishment and demolition survey before the work started, which would have
enabled it to properly plan the work.
The court was told that, between 27 April and 12 May 2010,
asbestos-containing materials were disturbed by construction workers employed by
the firm, leading to asbestos fibres being released into the air.
HSE inspectors visited the site on 12 May and served an immediate Prohibition
Notice after receiving information that employees were carrying out work in a
J C Irvine pleaded guilty to breaching reg.23(1)(a)
of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 by not ensuring
that the refurbishment work was properly planned, and reg.5 of the Control of
Asbestos Regulations 2006 by failing to ensure that its employees were not
exposed to asbestos fibres.
The firm was fined £6000 on each charge, and ordered to pay full costs of
Hayley Healey, the HSE inspector who investigated the case and prosecuted it
in court, commented: “Construction and maintenance workers are in the most
at-risk groups from asbestos-related diseases due to the nature of their
“The widespread occurrence of asbestos as a product in buildings constructed,
or refurbished prior to 2000 means that inadvertent disturbance of
asbestos-containing materials can be frequent and regular where asbestos
products have not been adequately identified, or managed.
She concluded: “This prosecution should act as a reminder to those in the
construction industry of the importance of ensuring that an asbestos survey, and
its findings, are available prior to work being carried out and that the correct
control measures are in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is