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Refurb foreman kept in dark over asbestos threat

A Battersea contractor has been fined for failing to highlight the known presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) at a Berkshire warehouse.

The move exposed a foreman and others to potential harm when it was ripped out during refurbishment work.

Redwood Contractors Ltd was in possession of a detailed asbestos survey that clearly identified the location of the asbestos wall panels inside the building in Wokingham.

But the survey wasn't shared with the team on the ground.

So when a foreman mistook the AIB for asbestos cement - a lower risk material - it was removed without adequate control measures and protective equipment.

This was despite an asbestos survey being completed just two months prior to the work starting.

Because the foreman was unaware that the panels were made from AIB, the wrong kind of control measures were in place when he removed them.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Karen Morris commented: "It is disappointing that the foreman and others were needlessly put at risk simply because the asbestos survey for the warehouse wasn't supplied to the team on the ground, or the location of the AIB relayed.

"What is the point of having a suitable survey in hand if you aren't going to act on it and share vital information with those who need to know?

 

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