Court found North Devon Homes breached construction regulations and Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd breached control of asbestos regulations.

Two plumbers were exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos because of failures by a two local companies, a court has heard.

Employees of Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd were allowed to carry out removal of a back boiler and to drill a wall panel at a North Devon Homes property in Jubilee Close, Ilfracombe, after the company started work despite not receiving an asbestos survey from North Devon Homes.

The incident, on September 27, 2012, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted North Devon Homes for safety failings at North Devon Magistrates’ Court today (Monday).

North Devon Homes Ltd, of Westacott Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to a breach of Construction (design management) Regulations and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £650.

Pilkington Plumbing and Heating Ltd, of Pilton Street, Pilton, Barnstaple pleaded guilty to two breaches of Control of Asbestos Regulations at an earlier hearing before the same court on October 8, and was fined £1,500 with £642 costs.

HSE Inspector Barry Trudgian, speaking after the hearing, said: “As a result of North Devon Homes’ failure to provide the required information and Pilkington not waiting for the asbestos details before starting work, two workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos.

“The risks associated with asbestos in housing stock are well-known and the regulations governing its removal are long-standing. This incident could have been avoided if Pilkington had carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the work liable to disturb asbestos.”

Further information about working with asbestos can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/