A building company has been fined after removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and failing to protect its workers from falls of up to 4 metres at a farm building in Waltham, Essex.
Workers were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres and only provided with baby wipes or access to a hose for decontamination.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted by a member of the public concerned that unsafe work was being undertaken at the farm building.
An investigation found LJW Cladding, of Evesham Close, Ipswich, Suffolk did not have a licence permitting it to remove asbestos despite telling the farm owner it held the necessary approvals.
None of the workers were trained to work with licensed asbestos and were also placed in danger of falling from height while removing the fragile asbestos boards.
HSE found that the work, carried out between 26 and 28 February 2014, was lacking in safety measures.
LJW Cladding was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,365.50, plus a £120 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
HSE principal inspector Dominic Elliss said: “LJW Cladding’s incompetent actions led to its employees being potentially exposed to asbestos fibres at a much higher level than would have been possible had a competent licensed contractor been used.
“In addition, there was a serious risk one of them could fall from or through the fragile roof because the firm failed to provide effective safeguards. Too many workers continue to be seriously injured from falls in exactly this type of refurbishment project.”