The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has successfully led a prosecution against Cullen Asbestos Limited following the unsafe removal of asbestos containing material at a commercial premises in East Belfast in April 2014.
Following a trial at Belfast Crown Court, Cullen Asbestos Limited was convicted by a jury of breaching health and safety legislation and today (29 June 2022) fined a total of £15,000.
The HSENI investigation found that work practices employed by the company were unsafe and resulted in the spread and uncontrolled release of asbestos fibres.
Kyle Carrick, Head of HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said: “Asbestos exposure remains a significant cause of work-related deaths in Northern Ireland.
“Companies dealing with asbestos have a legal responsibility to ensure that any asbestos removal work is completed in such a way so as to minimise the release of asbestos fibres and reduce exposure to workers.”
“HSENI will not hesitate to take action where the health of workers has been put at risk.”
In this case, extensive breakage of asbestos cement ceiling panels was evident within the work area. Poor working practices during the removal process, resulted in an increased risk of worker exposure to asbestos fibres. Suitable control measures had not been put in place by Cullen Asbestos Limited to prevent unnecessary damage to the ceiling panels during the removal process.
Northern Ireland statistics show that in 2020, asbestos related disease accounted for some 99 deaths where asbestosis or mesothelioma were recorded as the primary or secondary cause of death. Preventing exposure to asbestos is essential to reduce the incidence of asbestos related disease in the future.
For more information about the safe handling of asbestos visit:
Notes to editors:
- Breaches and fines for Cullen Asbestos Ltd are as follows:
a) Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £7,500
b) Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012, fine £4,000
c) Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012, fine £3,500
- For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110
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