Asbestos – More fines issued

Newnham College, which is part of the University of Cambridge has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450 for exposing both employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment work.

The case which was heard by Cambridge Magistrates’ Court back in March 2018, found that employees of the College and subcontractors, who were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge, discovered asbestos insulation debris in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. The court also heard evidence that no asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them.

Newnham College pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals.

“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”

Last year we at SMAS Worksafe released a blog asking the question, are we asbestos aware? The blog looked at employers, Duty holder and a management plan. A link to the blog can be found below.

Are we asbestos aware?