Workmen who were working on a pub in Devon were needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos dust. Not only were they exposed to it their site manager also gave the instruction for them to deal with removing it from the pub and did not provide adequate protection. The incident occurred in 2010 at a pub which was being refurbished by Cowley’s Building Maintenance who on behalf of St Austell Breweries.

Work Told to Continue

The workers were working with the deadly material as there had been no asbestos survey which was the responsibility of St Austell Breweries. The men were given the task of removing uncovered insulation boards which contained asbestos. While the site manager did request for the board to be examined he did make his workers continue to pick up the boards and remove them. Throughout the demolition more asbestos boards were moved and disturbed which increased the exposure levels for the workers.

As a result of the incident St Austell Breweries were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £6,295 in court costs. Cowley’s Building and Maintenance were also fined £12,500 with £6,295 in costs. The director of the company was additionally fined a total of £4,500 including costs and the fine. The Brewery pleaded guilty for breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations. Cowley Building and Maintenance and Mr Reed pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) (a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.

Site Managers Must Know Their Legal Duties

The site manager should have stopped all work on the material until the asbestos survey was carried out. Any work continuing should have been performed with the right protection. Health and safety needs to be considered at all times by those who are working on construction sites or involved in refurbishments and demolition. The right training is necessary to know what to do if there has been no asbestos survey provided or if it has been discovered on site.

The SSSTS and SMSTS are excellent training courses for anyone in a supervisory or managerial role on site. The training is a requirement by all of the major contractors as health and safety and the construction industry must go hand in hand. This is the ideal course to learn the responsibilities you hold in your supervisory or managerial role and can be used to prevent incidents from occurring on site.