Workers used crowbars to smash asbestos roof at dilapidated site
Wednesday 28th March 2018
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Quainton Logistics and Storage had let conditions on site fall well below the expected standards, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Workers had not been given personal protective equipment and used crow bars to smash up asbestos cement roof sheets, which then had been left on top of mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) and forklift trucks.
They were also working near open service pits without fall restraint equipment or edge protection, and a MEWP had been parked 1 m away from the perimeter of one of the pits.
Only one of the three foreign nationals who were operating the workplace vehicles spoke English, and there were no toilets or washing facilities on site.
On 4 May 2016 the HSE served an immediate prohibition on Quainton for putting workers and the public at risk from the potential spread of asbestos and from falls from height, including the roof and open pits.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching regs 15(2) and 28(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, for putting workers' safety and health at risk and for failing to take measures to prevent a vehicle from falling into a pit respectively, and s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,870.
An employee at T&J Leigh was helping joinery contractor Harry Jackson to re-roof an old feed mill building at Ghyll View Farm in Longton, Lancashire on 1 November 2016 when he fell 5 m through a gap. He landed on a concrete floor and sustained serious head and arm injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the roof work was not properly planned. There were no measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall from the roof.
He died aged 64 in June 2016 from asbestosis. According to the labour union GMB, of which the worker was a member, he was exposed to considerable amounts of the harmful fibres while carrying out fitting asbestos lagging during the 1960s and 1970s. He was an apprentice at Spousal (Midlands) before going on to work for Cape Darlington. After his diagnosis, the victim obtained a provisional damages order in 2008 which meant he could return to court if the condition worsened.
An Opinium survey of 500 workers found that 32% of respondents have never checked the asbestos register before starting work on a new site. Almost half of these workers (15% of the total sample) do not know about asbestos registers.The survey was conducted ahead of today’s launch of the fourth phase of IOSH’s No Time to Lose occupational cancer campaign. Nearly one in four workers (23%) told Opinium that they believed they may have been exposed to asbestos fibres.
Hammersmith, London-based contactor PVAD was extending a basement at a site in Montholme Road near Wandsworth Common, south London, when the HSE visited in March 2017 and identified serious breaches.There was no edge protection in several areas, including at the site entrance where workers could fall 4 m into the basement. The contractor had also installed unsafe “home-made” ramps.The inspector found the site lavatory did not have a cistern to flush and washing facilities consisted of a cold water outdoor tap and bucket, with no soap or towel.
The fitter was working for HPAS (which trades as Safestyle UK) installing a first floor rear bedroom window at a property in Doncaster, Yorkshire. On 1 March 2017 the ladder, which had not been footed or tied to a suitable point, slipped and the worker fell more than 3 m. He sustained a broken knee cap which required surgery, Sheffield Magistrates’ Court was told. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company routinely put staff at risk by not ensuring they fitted windows from the inside wherever possible.