Pub Owner fined after Asbestos Exposure

A major UK pub operator has been fined after three electricians and two plumbers were exposed to asbestos during refurbishment works

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the company had commissioned a survey to check for the presence of asbestos, but it was restricted to only those areas where the proposed refurbishment works were to be carried out.

The refurbishment plans were then changed before work started. The Court heard how  the electricians and plumbers started work in a kitchen area which had not been included in the original survey.

The ceiling tiles in the kitchen contained asbestos which meant that when the workers drilled into them with power tools, in preparation for new electrics and plumbing, dust and debris covered their faces and clothing, potentially exposing them to asbestos fibres.

The Pub owner was fined £14,001 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and ordered to pay costs of £11,781.45.

HSE Inspector said: “Construction and maintenance workers are among those most at risk from asbestos-related diseases due to the nature of their work. Asbestos is still widely present in buildings constructed prior to 2000, so workers can often inadvertently disturb materials containing asbestos if the correct survey has not been carried out to check for its presence and appropriate control measures put in place.

“Everyone who owns or operates commercial premises built prior to 2000 must ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment for asbestos has been carried out prior to any construction work starting.

“In addition construction and maintenance workers should have asbestos awareness training so that they can recognise that some materials may contain asbestos and know what action to take.”

Asbestos is the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with an estimated 4,000 people dying every year.

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