Concerns raised over Islington asbestos removal

Concerns have been raised over asbestos removal controls at a building site in Islington.

Trade Union GMB is calling for a full investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after receiving allegations that council sub-contractors working on properties in Pollard Close, Holloway, in December broke strict rules.

The union claims that the workers disposed of white asbestos floor tiles in ordinary bins – potentially exposing refuse collectors and members of the public to the dangerous substance.

The council insists that the tiles, which are known to be of low contamination risk, were bagged up and correctly disposed of at a licensed site.

But GMB’s Islington branch secretary Gary Doolan said the council has provided no evidence to prove the claims wrong.

He said: “It only takes one fibre of white asbestos to cause harm. It should be treated with the same priorities as high risk material.”

Keith Williams, GMB organiser said:

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“This has put Islington residents and dustmen at risk, put employees at the refuse transfer station at risk, all for the sake of a cheap job.”

Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing, Islington Council said: “The GMB first mentioned one incident they were concerned with at a meeting we had two weeks ago.

“Like all concerns over hazardous material, we investigated the incident thoroughly.

“We got back to the GMB last week to let them know that the material was taken by a licensed contractor and disposed of in the correct manner.”

A HSE spokeswoman said they were yet to be contacted over the matter.

She continued: “All concerns regarding serious asbestos breaches will be given careful consideration if they are reported to HSE. All companies involved in working with, or removing asbestos, have to follow strict guidelines.”