A Cardiff based letting agency has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after a handyman was exposed to potentially lethal asbestos dust.
The self-employed handyman, who asked not to be named, carried out regular repairs on domestic properties managed by Rochefort Shugar Ltd, of Cathedral Road, in Cardiff.
Barry Magistrates’ Court was told that the handyman had been sent to a property in Sully, to repair a leaky porch roof but as he removed a panel from the damaged area, he realised that it was asbestos insulation board.
An investigation by the HSE revealed that the asbestos-containing insulation board, had been broken during removal and the nearby area had been contaminated with asbestos debris.
The resulting sweeping up and removal of the board would have resulted in a significant number of asbestos fibres becoming airborne and although the handyman wore a dust mask he did not wear a disposable suit or undergo any de-contamination procedure.
Rochefort Shugar Ltd, was fined £1,500 after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, they were also ordered to pay £2,500 in court costs.
Asbestos fibres are responsible for a number of industrial diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening and result in the premature deaths of almost 4,000 workers every year.