A recent BBC report highlighted the number of people who are continuing to suffer serious, and often fatal, illnesses as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Exposure Still Occurring
This exposure usually takes place many years before victims are diagnosed with asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, and historically has occurred in a wide variety of locations, including schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
The dangers of asbestos exposure have been known for many years now, which makes it even more alarming to hear that people are still being recklessly exposed to these deadly fibres at work.
Breach of Asbestos Regulations
Just this month, two companies appeared in court on health and safety charges relating to breaches of asbestos regulations.
The two companies, Hatters Taverns Limited and Hatters Hostel Limited, were refurbishing the basement of a former restaurant to turn it into a bar venue.
An unannounced visit by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was conducted to inspect the ongoing refurbishment works. During the visit it was discovered there had been no asbestos survey carried out before tradesmen started stripping out the majority of the space.
Hatters Taverns Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £10,000.
Hatters Hostel Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay the combined costs for both defendants of £10,232.
“Both Hatters Hostel and Hatters Taverns have failed in their duty to protect their workers, subcontractors and visitors to his site from harm,” commented HSE inspector Matt Greenly. “Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 4,000 people per year in the UK.
“The cost of an asbestos survey is not great but the potential legacy facing anyone who worked on this site is immeasurable,” he added. “Exposure to asbestos fibres can potentially cause life shortening diseases in the long term and Hatters Hostel Limited and Hatters Taverns Limited should have taken more care to protect workers from a totally preventable exposure. This case sends a clear message to any company that it does not pay to ignore well known risks on site.”
Unsafe Asbestos Work
In March, another two companies were fined after failing to carry out asbestos work in a safe manner.
Kingsley Asbestos Services Limited (KAS), a licensed asbestos removal contractor, had been sub contracted by Bourne Valley Construction Services Limited (BVCS) to carry out work on a property.
KAS removed some asbestos containing materials and agreed to carry out repair works on other water damaged materials within the properties. During works to cut away damaged wall coverings in the kitchen, one of the workers cut into a pale coloured board which after subsequent testing proved to be Asbestos Insulation Board.
A subsequent investigation by the HSE found BVCS failed to plan the work and pass on information to KAS. It was the responsibility of both BVCS and KAS to arrange for a refurbishment and demolition survey. As a consequence work was carried out without establishing the location, presence and extent of asbestos containing materials on site.
Both companies pleaded guilty to health and safety offences.
If you have contracted an asbestos related disease as a result of exposure at work then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.
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