Company’s safety failings cause 18 people to be exposed to asbestos fibres…
A decorating company has been prosecuted after employees of the company along with agency staff and members of the public were all exposed to asbestos material during a renovation project at offices in Poole in 2009.
Bournemouth Crown Court was told that the company went ahead with the removal of ceilings at an industrial estate at the site without having carried out an asbestos survey. Subsequently a HSE investigation team uncovered widespread contamination across the site, both inside and outside the building.
Investigators also discovered that some of the material that had been transported from the site marked as non-hazardous, may well have included asbestos-containing materials. The court was also told that workers for the decorating company had been wearing normal work clothes for a period of more than two weeks while they may have been in the presence of asbestos. This could have had the consequence of exposing members of the public who had accessed the site to the asbestos threat.
Currently four employees of the decorating company and fourteen agency staff are being monitored after exposure to the asbestos material at the site that has the potential to cause chronic respiratory conditions and deadly lung disease.
The decorating company pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined a total of £45,000 in addition to £36,943 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Helena Tinton spoke after the sentencing had been passed:
“This was a very serious incident which carries severe risks for people’s health.
“The company’s safety failings led to the needless exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres of its employees, agency staff and the wider public. The firm didn’t carry out a suitable survey for asbestos material before the work started and failed to provide protection for workers on site.
“Regulations on dealing safely with asbestos have been in place for many years and are widely known in the industry.
“This totally needless incident would not have happened if the company had carried out proper assessments and had trained staff on site.”
Author: Julian Roberts
Health and Safety News” updates newsletter, click here. The new ‘Health and Safety News’ section on our web site is updated daily with new, up to the minute stories. The stories are also released via Twitter – why not follow us on Twitter? and receive new stories as and when they happen?