A Ballymena based asbestos surveying company was sentenced yesterday after failing to identify the risk of asbestos containing materials in a County Antrim retail outlet.
Asbestos Management Services (AMS) Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Order and was fined £7,500.
Antrim Crown Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) were made aware that employees of two separate contractors were put at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres while refurbishing a shop in Antrim on 7 January 2016.
Asbestos Management Services Limited had been contracted to conduct an asbestos survey during which a number of samples were taken.
The investigation found that an AMS surveyor had given the go ahead for work to take place prior to receiving the results of the sample analysis. Asbestos was later found to be present in the samples that had been taken by the company.
HSENI inspector Kyle Carrick said: “It is essential that asbestos surveys are always conducted in a structured, methodical and systematic manner so as to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos from subsequent work activities.”
Statistics show that in 2016 asbestos related disease was recorded, as the primary or secondary cause of death, for 63 people in Northern Ireland. Preventing exposure to asbestos is essential to reduce the incidence of asbestos related disease in the future.
Further information on the legal requirements of working with asbestos containing materials can be found on HSENI’s website at www.hseni.gov.uk.
HSENI working with its prosecution partner, the Public Prosecution Service, will continue to bring successful prosecutions where companies or individuals fail to appropriately address the health risks associated with exposure to asbestos containing materials.