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A building firm from Battersea has been found guilty of breaching asbestos safety rules, after it failed to alert workers to the risks of dealing with the cancer-causing material.

Redwood Contractors from the capital were working on a warehouse in Berkshire, and had clear instructions from its own survey about the presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB). However, workers were exposed to risk when the survey results were not shared with them.

This meant that the AIB panels were removed incorrectly after being treated as asbestos cement by the foreman and his workers. Asbestos cement carries less of a risk, which resulted in the workers undertaking the task without the right measures in place.

As well as not wearing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), the workers were not operating to suitable instructions. This could have resulted in the men inhaling harmful fibres, magistrates at the court in Reading were told.

Pleading guilty to two separate charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive, Redwood Contractors Ltd received a £10,000 fine and costs of £2,857 over the incident.

Following the hearing, the HSE inspector on the case, Karen Morris, said:

“It is disappointing that the foreman and others were needlessly put at risk simply because the asbestos survey for the warehouse wasn’t supplied to the team on the ground, or the location of the AIB relayed.”

With Morris going on to say that everyone is aware of the danger asbestos carries, she said it is essential that all duty holders ensure appropriate measures are in place.

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