A Dungannon asbestos removal company was fined a total of £8,000 for breaches of asbestos and health and safety legislation following an incident on 14th May 2017.
Reclain Contracts Ltd substantially broke up a section of asbestos containing material from the ceiling of a service tunnel, instead of encapsulating it as instructed by their client.
The company also failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk created by carrying out this work, which potentially exposed employees and others to asbestos dust and fibres.
In a prosecution brought by Mid Ulster District Council, Reclain Contracts Ltd was sentenced after previously being found guilty of offences under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and the Health and Safety at Work Order (Northern Ireland) 1978.
During sentencing at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court sitting remotely on Friday 9 April, District Judge Ranaghan said: “I have to consider the importance of Health and Safety legislation in this jurisdiction. It is there to protect workers and members of the public.”
Speaking on the outcome, Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Sean McGuigan said: “The risks of asbestos are well known, as are the control measures required in dealing with it. This was an unfortunate incident that could have been easily avoided if safe working practices had been adhered to.
“Today’s ruling will go some way in reminding all tradespeople such as electricians, plumbers, joiners, and anyone who works on the fabric of a building, of the importance of carrying out a sufficient risk assessment prior to working on or near asbestos containing materials. Asbestos is not to be underrated, exposure can have fatal or serious long-term health consequences and every precaution must be taken to minimise the risk of people being unnecessarily exposed to it.”
The company was also ordered to pay the Council’s legal costs of £4,275 and an Offender Levy of £15.