Northern Ireland company fined for employee exposure to asbestos

By Lenore Rice

Mettallix Ltd in Ballymena has been given a fine of £6,000 plus costs for health and safety breaches that resulted in the "needless" exposure of employees to asbestos dust.

A Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation was carried out in respect of a period of several days in April 2014, during which time more than 50 employees and sub-contractors were exposed to asbestos at the company's premises. The HSENI found that an asbestos insulation board was removed in an uncontrolled manner by 2 employees of the company, and that the contaminated area was not secured, with people passing through it for approximately 1 week.

Jonathan Knox, an inspector with HSENI said the company had "needlessly put at risk the health of more than 50 people by its failure to properly manage asbestos containing materials." He also urged companies to carry out the necessary asbestos checks when carrying out work on a property in Northern Ireland built prior to 2000, and to make sure information is shared with employees and anyone else who risks exposure to asbestos at the area affected.

Exposure to asbestos is one of the largest causes of work-related deaths in Northern Ireland, resulting in illnesses such as mesothelioma which can take years to be diagnosed after the initial period of exposure.

If you require legal advice in respect of a compensation claim related to asbestos exposure contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9289.