A company, Ace Recycling, and its sole director have been fined a total of £28,000 for health and safety breaches.

This included failing to ensure a suitable and sufficient assessment was completed to identify the presence of asbestos at a former factory site in Northern Ireland.

James McCoubrey, Director of Ace Recycling (NI) Limited, was also fined for failing to comply with a prohibition notice served by an Inspector from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland, The Notice was to prevent any further work involving asbestos from continuing at the site in Lurgan.

A court was told that demolition work at the former factory site started in December 2016 and continued through to February 2017.

James McCoubrey tasked an independent contractor, which was not a licenced asbestos removal company, to remove asbestos containing materials from the site, the extent of which were unknown. Suitable precautions were not taken by the contractor during the demolition process to ensure the safe removal of asbestos, the court heard.

A HSENI Inspector visited the site and despite serving a prohibition notice preventing any further asbestos removal work from continuing, a subsequent visit by the same Inspector identified that the prohibition notice had not been complied with and further unnecessary asbestos contamination of the site had taken place.

HSENI Inspector Kyle Carrick said: “This case highlights the importance of surveying a property for asbestos to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from subsequent work activities.”

“The risk of exposure to asbestos could easily have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient assessment to identify the presence of asbestos had taken place before commencing demolition. In addition failure to comply with the prohibition notice in this case has resulted in workers being unnecessarily exposed to asbestos.”