Company ‘makes a shambles’ of asbestos removal

May 13, 2024

Company ‘makes a shambles’ of asbestos removal

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

A company based in Kent has been fined £30,000, and its director fined £5,000, after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos across two separate sites.

The firm in question was trading as ‘Asbestos Gone’.

Investigating, the HSE found that DOV Services Ltd, the company behind the Asbestos Gone name, had removed loose fill asbestos insulation, a licensable activity, during the renovation of a retail unit in Redhill in April 2021, despite not holding a licence granted by the HSE to do so.

Between 30 March and 7 April 2021, the company also removed asbestos cement sheets from the fascia of a school gymnasium and sports hall in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. While not licensable work, the company failed to follow a safe system of work for the removal, with little to no control measures in place to protect its own workers, or pupils and staff at the school 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.

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.

Company 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.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Samantha Wells and paralegal officer Imogen Isaac.

April 2024

Our Comment

This case illustrates again the importance of maintaining a focus on correctly working with asbestos containing materials. In summary, hiring licensed contractors for asbestos removal is crucial to ensure the prevention of inadvertent exposure to asbestos fibres and ensuring its safe disposal.

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This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

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