Companies Fined Over Sheltered Housing Asbestos Safety Failings

HSE Identifies Problems In Lift Project


Housing and care provider Anchor Trust and two firms specialising in work related to lifts have been fined after both staff and residents at a sheltered housing scheme were put at risk of asbestos exposure.

Express Elevators was contracted by Anchor Trust to replace a lift at St Paul’s Court in Alnwick in November 2012, with PC Lifts being subcontracted to remove the existing lift ahead of the installation of the new one.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the lift shaft contained asbestos boards which PC Lifts removed without using any measures to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres.

The HSE stated that Anchor Trust had a duty to ensure arrangements made for the management of the work was suitable and safe, while investigations also revealed Express Elevators failed to adequately plan and manage the work .

PC Lifts was also found not to have made inquiries and to have worked in the lift shaft without necessary lighting, with the HSE stating this may have impacted on efforts to identify the presence of asbestos.

Anchor Trust was fined £10,000 in relation to the incident, while Express Elevators was fined £8,000 and PC Lifts was fined £4,000. All three of the firms were also ordered to pay costs.

Expert Opinion
Very clear guidelines exist in relation to the management of asbestos in buildings, as well as how potential risks related to the material should be handled during refurbishment projects.

"Such regulations exist for a reason and we have seen first-hand numerous cases in which workers and the general public have gone on to develop asbestos-related conditions as a result of safety failings which should have been avoided.

"A case of this nature is hugely worrying and it is absolutely vital that employers involved in refurbishment work take notice of these problems, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the potential presence of asbestos is always assessed and that these circumstances are never repeated. Health and safety must be a priority."
Ian Bailey, Partner