Sadly, despite there being a wealth of information relating to asbestos and the devastating effects exposure to asbestos has on health, people are still being exposed to the harmful material to this day.
Although asbestos was banned from use in the UK in 2000, due to it being widely used in the construction industry prior to this, asbestos is still present in many buildings. While asbestos can be present in a building, it is not considered hazardous unless it is in a poor state of despair or has been disturbed. The danger arises when asbestos fibres become airbourne and can be inhaled.
This is why asbestos surveys are done, to identify asbestos in buildings before any work is carried out, so those doing the work can be prepared and deal with the asbestos accordingly. Whether it be by involving licensed contractors to remove the asbestos safely, or amending work plans to ensure the asbestos is not disturbed.
Unfortunately, the correct steps are not always taken and each month we learn of a company who has put its employees in harm’s way. This month is no different, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken companies to court following asbestos failings.
Mizkan Euro Ltd, a food company based in Chiswick, London, was in the process of making changes to its premises using a contractor, D H Welton & Co. The work required the demolition of an external wall to allow tanks to be removed. The HSE found that during the demolition work, asbestos insulation boards present at the top of the wall, were broken up and left in a skip with the rest of the debris. It was only by chance that the asbestos was identified when an asbestos removal contractor visited the site.
It was later found that Mizban Euro Ltd had not carried out an asbestos survey. However, when planning the work and finding no asbestos survey had been done, D H Welton & Co should have carried out their own survey.
Mizban Euro pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £13,000. D H Welton & Co also admitted to breaches of Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, along with a breach of 5(1)(a) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They were fined a total of £45,000 and had to pay costs totalling over £4,500.
This case highlights the need for ongoing asbestos awareness and education. Asbestos conditions such as mesothelioma can only be prevented by stopping exposure to asbestos.
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos claim please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.