The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Sunday, 18 August

GM Drives into Asbestos Trouble

General Motors UK Ltd has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after work being undertaken at its North Road, Ellesmere Port site in 2014 exposed contractors to risks associated with asbestos.

An investigation by the HSE found that during work to replace high pressure hot water boilers with gas burners in the company’s paint unit, suspected asbestos insulating boards (AIB) were discovered beneath external cladding on the stores building.

Contractors carrying out the refurbishment had submitted a risk assessment and method statement for the work which was originally due to traverse a roof.

When the location of the new pipework was changed to the side of the building no review of the risk assessment for the job, specifically in relation to asbestos was undertaken. Subsequent sampling confirmed the presence of asbestos.

On the day the suspected boards were discovered the asbestos register was not fully available to the contractor to allow them to check whether the boards contained asbestos. No direct instruction was given by General Motors to the contractor to stop the work to prevent any AIB being disturbed. The work, including the removal and cutting of holes in AIB board, continued without suitable precautions.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard no assessment of the risk was undertaken by General Motors to determine if the work was notifiable or licensed asbestos work. On completion of the work licensed contractors were employed to conduct a clean-up and decontamination programme of the roof and in the stores.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: “Asbestos kills around 5,000 workers each year; this is more than the number killed on UK roads. Asbestos can be present within any premises built or refurbished before the year 2000.

“Whenever asbestos containing materials are found to be present, companies have a legal duty to document and implement an Asbestos Management Plan which includes measures to adequately control the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.”

General Motors UK Ltd, of Osborne Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to a single breach of Section 3 (1) the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £ 11,779 in prosecution costs.

Picture: With thanks to Vauxhall and for illustration purposes only- the Vivaro van

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

Safety Fines Reflect Size of Guilty Firms

A construction company has been fined £3/4 million for asbestos failings; another for a falling load crush; another for a trench collapse; and another for an...

 Read Full Article
Shocking Ways to Land in Court

BAM Construction Limited and Shoreland Projects Limited have been fined after a man suffered multiple life changing injuries including severe burns to his...

 Read Full Article
Asbestos Analyst Fined for Falsifying Documents

An asbestos analyst has been fined after he falsified an asbestos air clearance certificate, following licensed asbestos removal in Manchester. Greater Manchester...

 Read Full Article
Cavalier Estate Management Firm Fined Again

A real estate company in Oxfordshire has been fined for failing to manage asbestos on its premises following a fire. Reading Crown Court heard how a fire occurred at...

 Read Full Article
Fathers' Day - Killings Get Scant Justice

A company providing environmental services has been prosecuted after a worker was killed during asbestos removal work at a Welsh High school. Newport Magistrates Court...

 Read Full Article
Phoenix Nights Delayed by Asbestos Exposure

A Bolton night club owner has been sentenced after admitting a failure to carry out a survey for asbestos before starting on the refurbishment of a local night...

 Read Full Article
The Rights and Wrongs Of Prohibition Notices

The Supreme Court has recently decided that where a Prohibition Notice is served and subsequently found to be unfounded, the Notice can be rescinded or modified but the...

 Read Full Article
NHS Trusts In The Dock - Legionella and Lone Worker Fatality Convictions

Royal United Hospitals (Bath) NHS Foundation Trust has (in week ending December 15) pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act...

 Read Full Article
Scaffolding - Dangers Exposed

Date: August 21 - Construction company fined after worker fell from height A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries after...

 Read Full Article
Bam Ferrovial Keir Fined £1 Million

A passenger air transport firm has been fined after an employee suffered brain damage after being crushed by hangar doors in Bedfordshire. St Albans Crown Court heard...

 Read Full Article