Northern Ireland news

Company and director fined £28k after failing to manage asbestos safely at Co Armagh site

The HSENI said a company and its director were fined after failing to manage asbestos safely

A COMPANY and its director have been fined £28,000 after failing to manage asbestos safely at a former factory site in Co Armagh.

Ace Recycling (NI) Limited and its sole director James McCoubrey were found guilty of health and safety breaches, including failing to ensure a suitable and sufficient assessment was completed to identify the presence of asbestos at a former factory site at Shaerf Drive, Lurgan.

Mr McCoubrey was also fined for failing to comply with a prohibition notice, which had been served by an HSENI inspector to prevent further work involving asbestos from continuing at the site.

Demolition work at the former factory site began in December 2016 and continued through to February 2017.

The HSENI said an independent contractor, not a licenced asbestos removal company, was tasked by Mr McCoubrey to remove asbestos containing materials from the site, the extent of which were unknown.

It was found that suitable precautions were not taken by the contractor during the demolition process to ensure the safe removal of asbestos.

After a complaint was made about the alleged removal of asbestos, a HSENI inspector visited the site on February 8 2017 and served a prohibition notice.

A subsequent visit by the same inspector found the prohibition notice had not been complied with and further unnecessary asbestos contamination had taken place.

HSENI inspector Kyle Carrick said: "This case highlights the importance of surveying a property for asbestos to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from subsequent work activities.

"The risk of exposure to asbestos could easily have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient assessment to identify the presence of asbestos had taken place before commencing demolition.

"In addition failure to comply with the prohibition notice in this case has resulted in workers being unnecessarily exposed to asbestos."

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