A Ballymena company has been fined £6,000 plus costs of £564 for three health and safety breaches which resulted in workers being exposed to asbestos.

The sentencing comes after the HSE NI investigation into how over several days, employees and sub-contractors at the company’s premises in Ballymena were exposed to asbestos.

The company manufactures metal components and sub-assemblies for the automotive industry and employs around 130 staff, with approximately 50 based at the Ballymena site.

While preparing the site for the installation of two overhead cranes in a workshop, asbestos insulation board was removed in an uncontrolled manner by two employees. The contaminated area continued to be accessed by employees and sub-contractors.

Speaking after the sentencing Jonathan Knox, an inspector with HSENI’s major investigation team, said “On average over recent years, more than 60 people die every year in Northern Ireland as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths here.”