Aberdeenshire plant hire firm fined after hiring unlicensed asbestos removal contractor

Miller PlantMiller Plant Limited has been fined £15,000 over a health and safety breach which resulted in three contract workers being exposed to asbestos fibres.

The Inverurie-based plant contracting and hire service provider was handed the fine at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after admitting engaging an unlicensed asbestos contractor to carry out removal work from its piggery buildings, the Aberdeen Evening Express has reported.

The offence took place at Upper Lurg Farm, Midmar, a site which was purchased by the firm, between July 6 and 31, 2015.

A licensed company visited the site and was of the opinion the type of asbestos that needed removed was made from fibres, and estimated that the work would cost £27,100.

However, the contract was awarded to another firm for “substantially less”, whose director was of the opinion that a different type of asbestos was present.

The selected firm then chose to sub-contract the work out to an individual – neither had a licence to remove the type of asbestos found in the piggery buildings.

It was also stated that the director of the first firm contacted about the work had called Miller Plant to say the company the work had been awarded to “was not licensed to carry out this job”.

The following day an HSE inspector arrived on site, enforcement action was taken against the firm and the man the job had been sub-contracted to.

No one was injured as a result of the offence.

Ian Miller, one of the managing directors at the firm, said it had learned from mistakes following the incident and has taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

He told the Aberdeen Evening Express: “Post the incident we have reviewed our policies.

“We’ve put all our key staff in asbestos training. We’ve very much addressed the issue.”

Mr Miller added that it turned out the contractor selected was not qualified to remove that type asbestos. He said the firm did not realise this but was “culpable for not getting an asbestos survey done”.

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