Dairy Farm fined over asbestos exposure due to lack of management plan

Dale Farm has been fined £30,000 plus costs of £2,500 after two ventilation engineers were exposed to asbestos fibres. The incident happened during extension work at their creamery in Cookstown in March 2013.

The company pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation. The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).

Dungannon Crown Court was told that the two engineers had not been provided with important information on the location of asbestos containing materials at the site before work began.

An investigation by HSENI found that Dale Farm 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 had also failed to update their asbestos register to take account of asbestos insulation board discovered in 2007 in the area where the incident took place.

After the hearing, HSENI inspector Jonathan Knox 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.”

Got any concerns about your asbestos responsibilities?
Find out about our full Asbestos Compliance offerings here – and stay on the right side of the law.