A motor manufacturer has been fined after discovery of asbestos boarding panels contaminated a site.
General Motors UK Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after work being undertaken at its North Road, Ellesmere Port site in 2014 exposed contractors to risks associated with asbestos.
An investigation by the HSE found that during work to replace high pressure hot water boilers with gas burners in the company’s paint unit, suspected asbestos insulating boards (AIB) were discovered beneath external cladding on the stores building.
Contractors carrying out the refurbishment had submitted a risk assessment and method statement for the work which was originally due to traverse a roof.
When the location of the new pipework was changed to the side of the building no review of the risk assessment for the job, specifically in relation to asbestos was undertaken. Subsequent sampling confirmed the presence of asbestos.
On the day the suspected boards were discovered the asbestos register was not fully available to the contractor to allow them to check whether the boards contained asbestos. No direct instruction was given by General Motors to the contractor to stop the work to prevent any AIB being disturbed. The work, including the removal and cutting of holes in AIB board, continued without suitable precautions.
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