Workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres following a catalogue of errors by an engineering company and a building firm during a demolition and refurbishment project in Swansea, a court has heard.
Neath Magistrates’ Court was told that Wall Colmonoy had contracted Oaktree Construction to renovate a building opposite its premises in Pontardawe, Swansea, in December 2010 in order to expand its operations.
The engineering firm had two asbestos management surveys for the site, which, although later deemed to be inadequate, identified the presence of asbestos material and highlighted other areas, such as the ceiling voids, which were presumed to contain asbestos.
Despite this, work was allowed to begin in the building, even though Trebanos-based Oaktree had been advised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that a separate ‘Refurbishment and Demolition Survey’ was also required before any activity commenced.
A HSE investigation found that Wall Colmonoy failed to appoint a competent Construction, Design and Management co-ordinator and principal contractor to plan and manage the construction work, and ignored advice from its own health and safety manager to notify HSE of the demolition phase of the project, as is required by law.
Wall Colomony, of Alloy Industrial Estate, Pontardawe, was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £3,287 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Oaktree Construction (Wales), of Pheasant Road, Trebanos, was fined £8,000 with costs of £2,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulations 16 and 11(1) (a) of the of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.