The regulations concerning handling and working with asbestos are clear: it is classed as a hazardous substance with serious health implications, and those working with it need to be aware of the risks involved and how to manage them in compliance with the regulations.
Unfortunately, for a family undertaking a home refurbishment in Bradford-on-Avon, the contractors they had employed breached these regulations, putting the inhabitants and workers at risk.
The company’s employees had failed to recognise that ceiling boards were in fact asbestos insulation boards and proceeded to remove them and break them up, releasing airborne fibres into the home. The broken boards were also removed in open bags and left in the garden – another breach of safety regulations.
An electrician working at the property suspected the boards could contain asbestos and ordered an analysis which found that they did indeed contain the substance. Work was halted and the home had to be decontaminated.
In this case, the problem was identified and dealt with; however prosecutors decided that the construction company had carried out unsafe works, putting both its employees and a family with young children at risk of exposure.