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Asbestos dangers highlighted by latest court case

20 November 2017

Further emphasis on the need for FMs and service providers to be vigilant on issues surrounding asbestos has been provided by a recent court hearing.

Hamilton Sheriff Court was informed that four electricians employed by IQA Operations Group had been exposed to asbestos during work at Anderson Tower in Motherwell in 2014.

They had been drilling through door transom panels to fit electric cables as part of the installation of a new low voltage distribution system.

Although an asbestos survey had been carried out in advance of the works beginning, this had not included the transom panels, the court was told.

The electricians drilled holes in the transom panels in all 44 flats on site, with no measures in place to control exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

Concerns were raised by a resident after the holes had been drilled and the work was stopped while the transom panels were tested for asbestos.

Immediate action was taken to decontaminate the flats after the tests proved positive, with residents moved into temporary accommodation while this was completed.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that IQA Operations Group had failed to implemented a safe system of work to identify the presence of asbestos in the panels, and failed to carry out a suitable assessment of risk to employees when carrying out cable routing work.

Pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974, the company, of Abercorn Street, Paisley, was fined £6,000.

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