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Tue June 18 2024

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Contractor ignored asbestos plan

28 Sep 11 A demolition contractor has been fined after exposing workers to potentially deadly asbestos fibres at the former Revlon factory in Maesteg.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found Walsh Plant Hire & Demolition Contractors of Pontypridd ignored repeated warnings to manage the safe removal of asbestos during work on the demolition of the site.

Bridgend Magistrates Court heard that the company was first served with a prohibition notice to stop work at the site in February 2010, because work to remove asbestos cement sheeting debris was likely to generate hazardous asbestos dust.

Before resuming work, the company was required to produce a plan for the safe removal of the materials to make sure it was properly managed.

A management plan was developed to keep the asbestos cement in a safe condition by damping down the waste until it was removed from the site. However, a further visit by the HSE on 27 May 2010 found that the company had ignored the guidelines in its own plan, as the site was dry, and no damping down had been undertaken for a week.

Excavators were also found to be moving rubble contaminated with asbestos-containing debris, and tracking over asbestos cement fragments, potentially contaminating workers with asbestos dust.

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Walsh Plant Hire & Demolition Contractors Ltd, of Old Parish Road, Ynysybwl, Pontypridd, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(5) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The company was yesterday fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,828.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Phil Nicolle said: "The company was well aware of what it should have done to ensure the health of its workers and others when working with asbestos-containing materials at the site.

"HSE had taken previous enforcement action to ensure the company had a plan of work to manage the asbestos material safely. This plan was prepared but then ignored by the company.

"Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. This prosecution sends a clear message to demolition contractors that they cannot ignore the safe practices required to work with asbestos cement products. HSE will continue to prosecute those lacking."

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