An asbestos expert has been fined after workers under his supervision were exposed to potentially-deadly fibres.
Steven Kelly was working as a supervisor on a project at Trafford College in Stretford, Greater Manchester until the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) intervened.
Inspectors spotted three men removing asbestos on the site without suitable protective clothing or masks during an unannounced visit on the evening of 12 December 2012.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard how Manchester-based firm Winsulate had been hired to carry out asbestos removal work during a refurbishment project at the college.
Mr Kelly, however, ignored the company’s procedures on working with asbestos. In doing so, the 41-year-old from Kirkby in Merseyside broke the law.
His actions could have easily led to a number of asbestos claims from workers taking part in the removal. Their families and the general public could have also suffered from asbestos diseases as a result.
In the case of Mr Kelly, inspectors found that he had sent the workers into the undercroft beneath the classrooms, which had been sealed off from the rest of the building, to fix the temporary lighting.
The men were wearing their own clothes instead of disposable clothing under their overalls, and half masks instead of full-face respiratory masks. In addition, they had lace-up instead of Wellington boots, which meant asbestos fibres could stick to their laces or get inside their boots.
This led to them being put at risk of breathing in asbestos fibres, and other fibres could have remained on their clothes when they went home to their families in the evening.
Other serious issues on site included insufficient water for workers to properly sponge down boots, masks to stop fibres becoming airborne, and used clothing discarded inside the enclosure.
Mr Kelly, of Burwell Close in Kirkby, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of workers under his supervision. He was fined £790 and ordered to pay costs of £250.
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