The Prince of Wales’ cashmere sock maker charged with asbestos exposure
The Prince of Wales’ cashmere sock maker is currently in court defending itself against charges of failing to take reasonable steps to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos. A contractor they used had admitted the same charged and will be sentenced soon.
Swansea Crown Court are currently hearing the case against Corgi Hoisery whose long established family business makes knitwear, including cashmere socks, for the Royal family. The prince granted the company a royal warrant which means it can use the “By Royal Appointment” tag for its knitwear. They are charged with failing to take reasonable steps to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos
The charge, brought by the Health and Safety Executive, relates to asbestos removal carried out at the factory in October 2008 by Dragon Cladding Ltd on behalf of Corgi Hosiery. Health and Safety Executive inspectors were anonymously alerted to the work by Dragon Cladding, which was being carried out while Corgi staff remained working at the building. The site was immediately evacuated and a team of specialist decontamination workers led by experienced asbestos removal contractor Mr Hart was called in.
In a statement read to the court yesterday, Mr Hart, who has worked in decontamination for 14 years, said: “When I got to the site, I was shocked at the mess that had to be cleaned up. There were clumps and clumps of asbestos inside and it was on pallets outside. In all the years I’ve worked with asbestos, I’ve never seen anything so bad. Computers had to be thrown away and Corgi told me that £210,000 worth of yarn had to be thrown away.” The jury has heard the work to decontaminate the building took eight men around two and a half months and cost more than £200,000.
At Swansea Crown Court, the long-established family firm is denying that it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent its workers being exposed to asbestos. Corgi managing director Chris Jones, who runs the factory with sister Lisa Wood has pleaded not guilty to failing reasonably to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos on behalf of the firm. The company’s defence is due to begin today. The jury has been told that Stuart Phillips of Dragon Cladding, now in liquidation, admitted failing to take reasonable steps to prevent workers being exposed to asbestos and will be sentenced at a later date. Phillip Chandler, part of the Dragon Cladding team, “Stuart Phillips told us it was asbestos, but not a bad one.
Asbestos is the biggest single cause of occupational deaths in the UK, with an estimated 4,000 people dying every year from related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. There are many types of tradesman, like builders, electricians, plumbers etc, whom are likely to come into contact with asbestos and their employers are legally required to ensure that they are asbestos aware. In addition, companies are legally required to protect staff, customers and the general public from the risk of exposure. They must ensure that any asbestos is identified and either managed in the form of an asbestos resister or, repaired or removed.
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