At Dungannon Crown Court today (Tuesday), Dale Farm Limited was fined £30,000 plus costs of £2,500 after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation.
The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and relates to an incident on 13 March 2013 where two ventilation engineers were exposed to asbestos fibres during extension work at Dunmanbridge Creamery, Cookstown.
The two engineers had not been provided with important information on the location of asbestos containing materials at the site prior to work commencing.
An investigation by HSENI found that Dale Farm Limited had an asbestos management survey carried out 10 years prior to the incident. However, an asbestos management plan had not been developed in the intervening time, nor had a refurbishment/demolition survey been undertaken before the extension work began. Dale Farm Limited had also failed to update their asbestos register to take account of asbestos insulation board (AIB) that was discovered in 2007 in the area where the incident took place.
After the hearing, Jonathan Knox, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said “Asbestos exposure is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in Northern Ireland.
“Although the supply of asbestos containing materials was prohibited in 1999 many buildings in Northern Ireland still contain such products. Those in charge of non-domestic premises have a duty to manage the risks presented by asbestos containing materials.
“A suitable assessment of the presence and condition of asbestos containing materials must be carried out and relevant information passed to anyone liable to work on or disturb them.”
HSENI’s Duty to Manage campaign outlines the legal duties required for those who are responsible for managing asbestos in non-domestic properties: www.hseni.gov.uk/dutytomanage
For information on health and safety in the workplace visit: www.hseni.gov.uk or contact 0800 0321 121.