HBE Asbestos SurveyA Wokingham business has been fined for safety failings after two subcontractors were exposed to asbestos fibres at Reading University.

A Mechanical Services company had been contracted to undertake a mechanical services upgrade in a room at the university. They subcontracted the project to another company, who in turn subcontracted two self-employed men, Andrew Lloyd and Steve Taylor, to do the work.

Reading Magistrates court heard that the two self-employed men drilled through a sprayed asbestos ceiling coating. They had not been made aware that asbestos was in the room and thought all asbestos material had been removed by specialist contractors prior to their work starting.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the principal contractor was aware that some asbestos-containing materials were to be left on the site. However, they failed to relay this information to the subcontractors in a reliable way.

The principal contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 23(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The firm was fined a total of £28,000 and ordered to pay £22,631 in costs.