Northern Irish firm fined for not conducting asbestos check
A family-run company in Belfast has been fined following breaches of the health and safety regulations.
JDM Property Ltd was carrying out some construction work on the Devenish Complex in Belfast, but had failed to check for asbestos prior to starting the refurbishment. Judge Sandra Crawford warned the company that although asbestos had now been banned, it was possible to find it in older buildings. The judge also pointed out the dangers of asbestos.
Work started on the refurbishment on 5th February, 2014, and the following day an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive turned up on the premises. He discovered that a renovation asbestos survey had not been conducted prior to commencing work, although it appeared to be an oversight.
Eugene Grant QC, the defence barrister, explained that the company had been slightly naïve, believing that it could complete the work without calling in subcontractors. According to the defence barrister, the owners of the company had believed that a survey completed by the previous lease holders of the Devenish Complex would be sufficient.
Asbestos was located in several areas of the premises, including beneath damaged beams, in a skip outside, and in other areas on the ground and first floor. A prohibition notice was served following the visit by the HSE inspector. A fine of £9,000 plus costs of £1,700 was received by JDM Property Ltd.
There are specific instructions for the handling and removal of asbestos to prevent serious illness, and specialist workwear has to be used while handling the material.