A consulting company has been fined £30,000, plus costs of £564, at Antrim Crown Court for three health and safety breaches that resulted in two construction workers being exposed to asbestos.

The sentencing comes after a Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into how a joiner and his colleague were exposed to asbestos while replacing doors in the service ducts beneath Holywell Hospital, Antrim.

In addition to being the appointed project managers for the removal of asbestos containing materials from the underground service ducts, the consulting company also organised and conducted an asbestos survey for these ducts.

The information contained in the survey was then used to develop illustrative site plans showing areas where asbestos was present and areas where it had been identified as having been removed.

The consultancy provided these plans to a construction sub-contractor whose role was to remove and replace doors and to carry out other building work in the ducts.

HSENI’s investigation found that the survey, conducted by the consultancy firm, fell far below the required standards. In addition, asbestos was discovered in poor condition in numerous areas throughout the ducts, in areas where the plans illustrated there was no asbestos.

This prosecution should be a wake-up-call to Asbestos Project Management companies who believe that the cheapest Asbestos survey will suffice. Asbestos Surveys are only as good as the experience and training of the surveyor involved and the CAD technicians who create the plans highlighting the asbestos locations.

As a UKAS accredited organisation, HBE has one of the most vigorous training and staff management programmes to ensure our team are able to deliver an Asbestos survey & report you can trust.