A laboratory design and installation specialist has been fined after exposing workers, pupils and teachers to asbestos material at a school in Suffolk.
The incident in July 2012 occurred during refurbishment work to modernise parts of Newmarket College School’s Science block. During the work, managed by Labform Ltd, sub-contractors disturbed asbestos as they were removing a wall and channelling the floor.
The Cheshire firm was prosecuted at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Tuesday 12 May after an investigation found that the company had not arranged for a detailed Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey to be undertaken, as was required.
Labform Ltd, of Lymm, Cheshire, was fined £22,400 and ordered to pay £11,741 in costs after pleading guilty to four breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David King said: “Exposure to asbestos fibres is a serious and well known health risk, so it is essential that duty-holders take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent the disturbance, spread and exposure to asbestos.
“Failing to take action to identify asbestos while planning work, and to ensure that any contractors who may disturb asbestos are aware of the location and type of asbestos present, and not taking appropriate measures to protect the health of others, is totally inexcusable.”
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk
- Around 4,500 people die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Airborne fibres can become lodged in the lungs and digestive tract, and can lead to lung cancer or other diseases, but symptoms may not appear for several decades. Further information on how to reduce the risk of asbestos can be found on the HSE website at hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm
- Information about the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/regulations.htm
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk.