BELFAST based company JDB Property Ltd was today fined £9,000 at Belfast Crown Court plus costs of £1,700 after pleading guilty to three breaches of health and safety legislation.
The case arose following a Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into an incident on 7 February 2014 when workers were exposed to asbestos fibres during refurbishment of the Devenish Complex, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.
JDM Property Limited were contracted to undertake and manage refurbishment of the premises.
The investigation found that prior to the work commencing, JDM Property Limited failed to ensure that asbestos had been identified and dealt with in the premises.
During the refurbishment works, Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB) was broken up and several employees on site were exposed to asbestos fibres that were released.
Speaking after today’s hearing Kevin Campbell, an inspector with HSENI’s major investigation team, said:
“The risks of asbestos are well known. Exposure to asbestos can have serious long-term health consequences and can sometimes lead to death.
“Demolition and refurbishment work must be properly planned and managed by competent personnel.
“Had a refurbishment and demolition survey been undertaken, and had a licensed asbestos contractor been used to remove asbestos materials prior to the work starting, the risk would have been eliminated.
“Those in control of non-domestic premises have a duty to locate and identify all asbestos-containing materials and manage their condition.
“This information should be contained in an asbestos management plan and should be passed on to anyone who is likely to work on the fabric of the building.”