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A building company from East Anglia has been fined after it removed asbestos from a farm site without a licence, potentially exposing workers to carcinogenic fibres.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told that LJW Cladding Ltd, from Suffolk, did not have an asbestos licence, but went ahead and removed asbestos insulation board. The court also heard that LJW advised its client it had all the necessary approvals in place.

By way of protection, the workers only had access to baby wipes and a hose for decontamination after the boards were removed.

There was no evidence of personal protective equipment (PPE) being used.

The investigation by the HSE also found that none of the workers on site for LJW had received training in asbestos removal. It also found that workers were working at height with no protection in place to prevent falls.

Claiming that the work being carried out woefully lacked safety precautions, the HSE told the court there were broken asbestos insulating boards, inadequate attempts to control the release of dangerous fibres, no use of a decontamination enclosure and no provision of respiratory equipment provided for workers.

The investigation also found that overalls used throughout the asbestos removal work continued to be worn by workers when taking lunch.

It also raised the potential for workers to continue wearing the contaminated clothing as they headed home.

After pleading guilty, the firm was fined £10,000 as well as handed costs of £3365.50. LJW Cladding was also told to pay a victim surcharge amounting to £120.

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