A home improvement firm based in Hertfordshire has been fined after subjecting a family and two workers to the risk of asbestos exposure.
Ace of Hearts (AoH) Home Improvement Limited was working at a family home in St Albans when two workers found Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB) soffits around the guttering at the property. They then removed the asbestos in an unsafe manner, despite not having a license to carry out such work. As a result, they had potentially exposed the family of four, including two children, to respiratory damage from the asbestos fibres released into the air.
Companies that work offsite in areas where members of the public could be injured need to ensure that they have the right levels of public liability insurance in place in case of any accidents.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident in St Albans, which occurred on 25 September last year. Inspectors found that the company had dismantled the soffits surrounding the guttering in an unsafe manner, causing serious long term health risks through potential exposure. Furthermore, it ruled that the company should have sought a licensed contractor to carry the removal of the asbestos, seeing as it was not licensed to carry out such work itself.
Representatives of Ace of Hearts (AoH) Home Improvement Limited, which is based in Hemel Hampstead, appeared before St Albans Magistrates’ Court to plead guilty to the charge of breaching the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations of 2012 and The Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974 after failing to comply with an Improvement Notice.
The company was subsequently fined £100,00 and told to pay court costs amounting to £2,118.50.