College fined for asbestos failings
A University College in Cambridge has been fined after failing to prevent asbestos exposure to employees and contractors during a refurbishment project.
Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard how employees of the College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat owned by the College, when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had already been carried out.
No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to the discovery. And it was revealed that one employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, had not been given any prior asbestos awareness training, and subsequently spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of the flat, in case any asbestos were to be found.
The College pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £12,000 plus £4,450.28 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works, which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals.
“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”
If you suspect asbestos is present in your home or place of work, it is important that it be dealt with properly.
If handling asbestos, it is recommended that a licensed asbestos removal contractor undertake the work, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, such as the 3M Scott: Phantom Vision Kit.
For more information on asbestos and appropriate PPE and RPE, get in touch.