Fines imposed for asbestos exposure at former factory in Poole

A company in Poole has been fined for safety breaches after exposing workers to potentially fatal asbestos at a disused tile factory in the town.

Poole Investments plc allowed a series of people and workers on to the site in Blandford Road, Poole, despite being aware of the presence of asbestos materials from a survey it commissioned itself.

The Health and Safety Executive, which was alerted, investigated and prosecuted the company at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday (17 Sept) for safety failings.

The court heard that the company had agreed to sell redundant plant at the factory site to a local trader. Between October 2010 and the following April the trader unwittingly released asbestos dust and fibres when he demolished part of a disused pottery kiln while removing kiln carts from the site.

In May 2011, Poole Investments commissioned a firm to carry out an asbestos survey but allowed work to take place on site and next to the damaged kiln before the survey was completed in August of that year.

Even after the company received the survey report, which clearly stated asbestos debris was present and that the area should be made out-of-bounds, they allowed workers to continue activities at the premises.

Poole Investments plc, of Anglo Office Park, White Lion Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay a further £20,000 in costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, James Powell said:

“Poole Investments plc committed safety failings that led to workers being needlessly exposed to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres.

“They failed to identify that asbestos containing material was present on the site before the work started, resulting in failure to properly manage the work or provide appropriate protection for workers. Worse still, they allowed this work to continue even after they were in possession of a report showing asbestos was present and advising that the area should be made out of bounds.