A metal recycling business in Hartlepool has been fined £12,000 for removing asbestos without following the special measures required.
Baxketh Ltd removed pipes lagged in asbestos after it agreed to remove steelwork on behalf of UK Tankcleaning Services Ltd in Billingham. The firm took no payment for the removal and instead agreed to use the metal it moved for scrap, reports theconstructionindex.co.uk.
Following a complaint from an employee of another business nearby, Baxketh was visited by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors last year. A sizeable amount of damaged insulation and pipework was found scattered about on the site and one of the directors, Michael Almond Junior, was seen operating a mechanical excavator to move the steelwork into a skip.
After the inspection, Baxketh was served a notice and had to stop work, Teesside magistrates heard. UK Tankcleaning Services Ltd was also told to carry out an asbestos survey. The HSE carried out tests on the materials found on the floor of Baxketh’s premises and discovered that it contained asbestos, reports insidermedia.com.
HSE inspector, Julian Nettleton, said UK Tankcleaning Services Ltd failed to inform others of the location of asbestos on its site, whereas Baxketh should have carried out an assessment before moving the steelwork.
“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and there is a lot of industry in the Teesside area that still uses, or occupies premises that have old chemical processing plant dating back to the 60s,” he explained. “Almost all of it was lagged with asbestos in those days.
“Site operators and contractors working at these sites should always assume that old pipework is lagged with asbestos unless there is reliable evidence that says otherwise.”
UK Tankcleaning Services Ltd was also fined £10,000.