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More asbestos prosecutions

The Health and Safety Executive has announced further prosecutions relating to the incorrect handling of asbestos.

In Alnwick, Northumberland, a trust providing housing and care for the elderly and two companies carrying out refurbishments have been fined.

Anchor Trust was found to have provided its contractors, PC Lifts and Express Elevators, with conflicting information and had failed to carry out a sufficiently detailed asbestos survey.

PC Lifts, subcontracted to remove an existing lift, removed asbestos boards without any measures to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres, Bedlington Magistrates’ Court was told.

The HSE investigation also revealed that Express Elevators had failed to plan and manage the work correctly.

Anchor Trust, of Bedford Street, London was fined £10,000 with £346.40 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Express Elevators, Shipley, West Yorkshire was fined £8,000 with £827 costs for breaching Regulations 13(2) of the same legislation.

PC Lifts, of St John Street, London, was fined £4,000 with £346.40 costs for breaching Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

In a separate case, Frames Conservatories Direct, of Barton Road, Bury St Edmunds, was fined £24,000 with £10,571 costs by Bury St Edmunds’ Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty of exposing workers to asbestos by breaching asbestos regulations.

The company had claimed asbestos panels would be removed and disposed of by registered contractors when replacing window units at Westley Middle school, Bury St Edmunds.

This was not the case, the court was told, and also heard that employees were not informed they would be handling asbestos.

The alarm was raised when other contractors called a licensed asbestos contractor, resulting in an immediate halt to work and the area being sealed off.

Westley Middle school was subsequently forced to spend more than £111,000 on environment cleaning and replacement of equipment due to contamination.

HSE inspector Elizabeth Fowle, speaking after the case, said: “All of this could have been avoided if the company had simply asked, ‘Should we be doing this work with asbestos?.”