Suffolk building firm fined for exposing workers to asbestos fibres

Workers were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres and given only baby wipes and a cold water hose for decontamination.

LJW Cladding Ltd was working at a farm building in Waltham, Essex last year, where it removed asbestos insulation board without a licence. It also failed to protect its workers falling from heights of up to four metres.

Chelmsford magistrates heard the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted by a member of the public concerned that unsafe work was being undertaken at the farm building (pictured below).

Asbestos_Cladding

HSE’s investigation found that LJW Cladding Ltd had no licence to remove asbestos, despite telling the farm owner it did. 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 26th and 28th February 2014, was totally lacking in safety measures. Asbestos insulating boards were broken from their fixings with inadequate attempts to prevent the uncontrolled release of fibres. There was no use of an enclosure and the respiratory protective equipment provided to workers offered insufficient protection.

Instead of a full three-stage decontamination unit required for such work, all the workers had were baby wipes and the farm’s cold water hose. Contaminated overalls over normal clothing continued to be worn while the workers ate their lunch on site.

The investigation also identified a lack of fall prevention or protection measures.

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