Two companies fined £165k for asbestos failings

A food company and its Manchester-based contractor have been fined after asbestos was disturbed during building work and only identified by chance when an asbestos removal contractor attended site.

Stafford Crown Court heard no asbestos survey had been carried out by Mizkan Euro, headqartered in London, D H Welton & Co, based in Failsworth, and either company could have commissioned a refurbishment or demolition before the work commenced.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found Mizkan Euro was undertaking a project to remove tanks from a factory which required the demolition of an external wall. It failed to provide an asbestos survey to enable contractor DH Welton to quote and plan appropriately for the work to be undertaken. However, HSE also found DH Welton could have commissioned a survey when it discovered that Mizkan only had access to a management survey for the building.

When the wall was demolished asbestos insulation board at the top of the wall was unknowingly broken up. A skip of demolition debris was found to contain asbestos insulation board, which had been identified by an asbestos contractor who had been called to site. For the work to be undertaken correctly, a licensed asbestos removal contractor should have been appointed to remove the asbestos under controlled conditions prior to the wall being demolished.

Mizkan Euro Ltd of Chiswick Park, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act after failing to plan and manage the work carried out under its control without ensuring that risks to health and safety are prevented. It was fined £60,000 for each charge, totalling £120,000, and ordered to pay costs of £13,589.

D H Welton & Co Ltd of Corn Street, Failsworth, Manchester admitted breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act and regulation 5(1)(a) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 after failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos was present or liable to be present during the removal of a wall. It was fined £15,000 for each charge, totalling £45,000 plus costs of £4,529. 

Mizkan and DH Welton were both unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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