School Fined for Asbestos Failings
Essex School Refurbishment Disturbs Asbestos
A school in Essex has been fined for failings regarding recent refurbishment works. The failings have put school staff and contractors in danger.
The school had planned to convert an old boiler room into a cleaning store. Chelmsford Crown Court was told that asbestos had been disturbed during works. It heard how caretakers had simply swept asbestos contaminated dust from the floors.
The risks came to light when the school has an asbestos survey carried out. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident. They noted that for some time, school staff had disturbed the asbestos materials for years without knowing that it was asbestos.
The executive stressed that staff who were present in contaminated areas over the years had been put at risk of inhaling asbestos fibres. It was noted that the school did not prevent the spread of asbestos through the affected area.
The trust that runs the school pleaded guilty to the breach of the Heath & Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £26,000 and also fined £20,000 in other court costs.
The HSE said that the school should have had an asbestos survey carried out to identify where the asbestos was located. Suitable precautions should have been put in place so that staff and contractors did not disturb the material. Any dangerous asbestos material could have been removed by a licensed contractor before work was carried out.
The HSE stated that this should be a reminder to anyone anywhere that is having work done to take precautions.
Asbestos Solutions Northern Ireland ALWAYS recommend having a professional asbestos survey carried out prior to any refurbishment works. We have extensive experience working in the public and education sector. We can provide you with a detailed asbestos survey that suits your budget!
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Want to find out more?
Take a look at this excellent video produced by Work Safe British Columbia. It details where you might find asbestos during refurbishments and allows us to think again before disturbing asbestos materials.