Exposing yourself and others to asbestos carries more than just a health risk as one Swansea firm recently discovered.

Wall Colmonoy of Alloy Industrial Estate, Potardawe has been fined a total of £16,000 plus legal costs for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  Amongst other failures, the company did not provide a proper assessment of the presence of asbestos and its condition, during a demolition and refurbishment project it had contracted Oaktree Construction to carry out on its behalf.  In addition, Oaktree Construction was also fined £8,000 plus costs for breaching sections of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

During the demolition and refurbishment work, an asbestos insulation board covering a steel column was damaged leaving debris on the floor.  An employee of Wall Colmonoy was instructed to tape plastics bags around the column which was then left, together with the debris, for the duration of the project.  During this time workers of both companies were left exposed to hazardous asbestos fibres which can cause potentially fatal lung diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and other lung cancers.  Both companies failed to properly plan and manage the projects and carry out the necessary surveys before work could commence and ignored advice from their own health and safety managers.

Speaking after the hearing the Health and Safety Executive stated that “Both companies involved in this case demonstrated significant failings…which put the lives of their respective workers at risk.”