This case dates back to the year 2009 in Michigan, USA when a group of volunteers and untrained employees were tasked by Detroit International Bridge Co, with cleaning up an old building at Michigan Central Station. The company was subsequently fined by the OSHA for exposing these people to asbestos dust and other toxic materials.
Asbestos is Dangerous
Building consultants, Watts Group PLC were prosecuted and fined £30,000, plus costs in January 2016 for health and safety breaches that allowed two construction workers to be exposed to asbestos.
The group was the asbestos removal project manager and surveyed for asbestos prior to replacement of doors in a service duct below a hospital. They drew up plans showing where asbestos was present and where it had been removed. The survey, however was defective and asbestos in poor condition was present throughout the area but not shown on the plans.
It is vital to health and also to comply with legal requirements that the correct type of asbestos survey is carried out systematically and results recorded. Information on where to find asbestos can be found on the HSE website.
Persons responsible for managing premises such as shops or industrial units have a duty to manage asbestos. You can find out more about that at HSENI’s ‘Duty to manage asbestos’ page
A self employed heating engineer was prosecuted and fined for not preventing exposure to asbestos in a home where he was carrying out work. He was installing a new heating system at the home and removed redundant pipework with a circular saw and then carried the lagged pipework through the house and left it outside in the garden. This meant that asbestos fibres could have been released exposing both him and the homeowners to contamination.
The contractor had not undertaken any asbestos awareness training, which would have helped him recognise that the lagging could contain asbestos. Once recognised as a possible source of asbestos, he should have had it removed by a licensed contractor. As it was, the house owners had to move out for their home to be decontaminated.
Karl Locher pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs.
Remember, his insurance company will also have had to pay for compensation associated with this, so his insurance costs will skyrocket too!