Blackpool Pier Asbestos Atrocity
Don't take risks with asbestos
We’re amazed that despite all of the awareness around asbestos, people still think they can treat asbestos as a DIY job. Despite the fact that it was banned 20 years ago, asbestos is still a very real threat today. 5,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases every year.
The directors of Blackpool South Pier, Peter Sedgwick and Fiona Baylock, attempted to save money by using their own staff members to remove asbestos instead of hiring the professionals who had previously quoted them £17,000 for the job.
Paying the price
As a result of their dangerous and foolish decision, the pair went on to be fined £134,000 and a further £38,000 in additional costs. They were also given 300 hours of community service. This is a perfect example of why it’s always better to get professional help. If they had done so, no one would have been put at risk and they would have saved a lot of money.
The directors were aware of the asbestos and its dangers but still decided to cut corners and ignore the public safety rules. They gave three untrained employees disposable bodysuits and instructed them to remove the asbestos. The employees removed the asbestos using a crowbar and then hoovered afterwards to clean up.
This is exactly as dangerous as it sounds and should never be attempted by anyone under any circumstances. An estimated 600 members of the general public were at risk of asbestos exposure because the arcade was still open.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it was later discovered that a regular industrial skip had been used to dispose of the asbestos. There was also asbestos material found in a nearby car park which was open to the public.
The scale of this incident cannot be understated. It’s a powerful example of why asbestos should be taken seriously by those responsible for the safety of others.
What should have happened
What makes this case so disappointing is that the owners knew the asbestos was there and knew the dangers it presented. We’re used to hearing stories about bad practice with asbestos management, but we found this case particularly shocking.
The owners must have realised that they needed a significant amount of work done. The quote they received from the professionals was too expensive for them. They should have looked for a lower price from another company or postponed the work until a later date.
Instead, they deciding to take matters into their own hands and risk hundreds of lives. It was the worst possible option they could have chosen.
The dangers of asbestos exposure
Exposure to asbestos puts people at risk of developing any one of a long list of incurable diseases. Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. This is because workers who have prolonged exposure to asbestos are more susceptible to asbestos-related diseases.
While this is generally the case, it’s still true that even a single exposure to asbestos can contribute greatly to the development of mesothelioma, lung cancer or pleural thickening. This emphasises the level of danger that the general public was placed in by the directors of Blackpool South Pier.
The required qualifications
In order to remove and dispose of asbestos, you need a number of qualifications and licenses. According to the Health and Safety Executive, only competent workers and managers, provided with suitable information instruction and training and using appropriate respiratory and other protective equipment may undertake licensed asbestos work.
The Complete Licensed Contractor’s Guide to Asbestos goes into more information on the instruction and training required for performing licensed asbestos work.
Here at Colchester Asbestos Removal, we are fully accredited contractors. We have years of experience removing asbestos from properties and disposing of it correctly. We provide a quick and safe service. At all times, we follow the regulations while removing the threat as swiftly as possible.
As seen with the Blackpool Pier incident, corners should never be cut when it comes to asbestos. You will be putting lives at risk if you don’t hire a qualified asbestos removal professional to perform an asbestos-related job.
Speak to an expert
Working across London, Essex and Suffolk, we are a flexible company that works at competitive rates. Whether you just need an asbestos survey or the complete removal and disposal of an asbestos garage roof, we are the company for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.