Company Fined £30k for Unsafe Asbestos Removal

A KENT-BASED company was fined £30,000, and its director fined £5,000, after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos across two separate sites.

Ironically, the firm in question was trading as ‘Asbestos Gone’.

In April 2021, DOV Services Ltd, the company behind the Asbestos Gone name, had removed loose fill asbestos insulation from a retail unit in Redhill, despite not holding a licence granted by HSE to do so.

The company also removed asbestos cement sheets from the fascia of a school gymnasium and sports hall in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, between 30 March and 7 April 2021.

Pupils and Staff Put at Risk

While not licensable work, the Health and Safety Executive said the company failed to follow a safe system of work when removing the asbestos sheets from the school. The investigation found there were little to no control measures in place to protect the company’s own workers, or pupils and staff, from exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos debris was found on the roofs, on top of the covered walkway around the buildings, and on the floor at the base of the gymnasium and sports hall.

As a result of the poor work, the school had to engage a licenced asbestos contractor to undertake a remedial environmental clean.

Company and Director Fined

At Southwark Crown Court on 16 April DOV Services Ltd of Bradbourne Stables, East Malling, Kent, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,260.85.

The company’s director David Ryce also pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined £5,000 and also ordered to pay costs of £7,260.85.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Stephanie Hickford-Smith said: “It’s a sad irony that a company trading under the name of Asbestos Gone could make such a shambles of safely removing such a dangerous substance.

“DOV Services Ltd removed loose fill asbestos insulation, probably the most dangerous asbestos-containing material, from the site in Redhill, without having a licence to do so. It also put children and others, including its own workers and their families, at risk by failing to remove asbestos cement sheets from the school in Stanford-le-Hope under controlled conditions.”

Asbestos Safety

Guidance on asbestos safety has recently been updated by HSE. The current Asbestos: Your Duty campaign aims to improve understanding of what the legal duty to manage asbestos involves.

>> Read more about asbestos in the news

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