A builder has been fined for breaching asbestos regulations whilst working at a school in Bedford. His negligence may have exposed multiple workers to deadly asbestos.
How did the asbestos exposure occur?
SDC Builders Ltd were carrying out refurbishment work at Bedford School in August 2015. The company failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the school before starting work. They failed to identify the asbestos that was present in the building, and specifically where building work was being carried out.
Sadly, during the refurbishment work asbestos material was disturbed. Once the asbestos was disturbed, the company did not ensure that all workers were informed of the asbestos breach. They subsequently did not take the necessary measures to control access to the area until all of the asbestos was made safe.
SDC Builders Ltd pleaded guilty to two of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They were fined £185,000 and had to pay costs of over £28,000.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector, Alison Outhwaite said: “Asbestos remains the top cause of fatal illness because of exposure in the workplace. It is important that contractors responsible for refurbishment of premises constructed before 2000 identify whether asbestos is present and take the appropriate action to prevent exposure.”
No school children or staff were exposed
Thankfully, as the works were carried out in August (during school holidays), it is unlikely that any staff or pupils were exposed to asbestos. However, it is likely that SDC Builders LTD’s workers were.
It is incredible that the company did not carry out the necessary assessments before the work began. It is very well documented that buildings constructed before 2000 can, and do, contain asbestos. A large percentage of schools in England have asbestos in them.
It is extremely disappointing that, due to the lax attitude of a company, innocent workers have been exposed to asbestos. This leaves those workers to face an uncertain future where they do not know if they will develop an asbestos disease (such as mesothelioma cancer) or not.
How can we help?
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