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Birmingham firm fined for exposing workers to asbestos

Birmingham Glass Services and Equitas Academies Trust - owner and operator of Aston Manor Academy - have been prosecuted by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court after the Health and Safety Executive identified several asbestos failings.

According to the HSE, strips of asbestos insulating board packers were discovered during the installation of new windows.

It is believed that two BGS workers broke the asbestos boards, and dumped them next to an asbestos decontamination unit, which licensed asbestos contractors were using for an unrelated work on the site.

As reported by the press release, the two workers had not received asbestos awareness training, nor were they provided with any protective equipment. As a consequence of their actions, asbestos fibres were unwittingly released on the site, and workers were exposed to the deadly material.

Commenting on the news, Asons Solicitors executive Adriano D’Ambrosio said: “According to the HSE Press Release, it is alleged, that the two employees who carried out the work had not been warned about the presence of asbestos.

“As a result, several people were put at risk of being exposed to a serious health hazard. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres was entirely preventable, and these circumstances highlight the importance of asbestos surveys.

“Any firm that is appointed to carry out work to the fabric of a property, built prior to the year 2000, must ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps to check whether asbestos is present before any work starts; such information must be available to anyone involved in the work.”

Birmingham Glass Services were fined £5,000, and ordered to pay £1,969 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Equitas Academies Trust was fined £7,500, with £3,000 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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