Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment of hospital

Two Lincoln companies have been found guilty of serious Health and Safety breaches following a failure to identify asbestos and not ensuring workers were trained in Asbestos Awareness.

Two Lincoln companies have been found guilty of Health and Safety breaches and fined after workers were exposed to asbestos during the refurbishment of a Northamptonshire hospital ward.

Contractors Simons Construction Ltd instructed Rilmac Insulation Ltd to carry out an asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Survey prior to the commencement of work on the Martin Roth Ward at St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering. The survey highlighted an asbestos coating on the underside of the ceilings, but failed to identify over 200 sq metres of asbestos insulation board (AIB) above.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting case on 28 August 2012 which stated that two workers contracted to Simons were told to knock holes in the ceilings. It was reported that they were not told it contained asbestos and thus disturbed both layers.

As the asbestos containing material was not recorded in the survey, the court heard that the workers were not wearing the correct protective equipment and they were not working in a way that would minimise and contain the release of fibres. The HSE reported that asbestos material landed on their clothes, which they wore for the rest of the day increasing their chances of contamination and putting those whom came into their contact at risk from asbestos fibre inhalation.

The court heard the workers unknowingly increased the risk to themselves and others when they swept up the debris and left it in a pile on the floor. It was only discovered when a company contracted to remove the ceilings came onto the ward in January 2010 and recognised the material. A licensed asbestos removal company then spent several weeks removing the ceilings.

Rilmac Insulation Ltd was fined £3,500 with costs of £2,911 and the HSE found it necessary to prosecute Simons Construction Ltd, of Doddington Road, Lincoln, as the investigation found that the workers has not received adequate training in the identification of asbestos containing materials and the procedures to take. Simons Construction Ltd was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,911 while.

Armco understands the serious risks that asbestos fibre inhalation poses and can reassure that their surveyors have been in the industry for over 15 years and have never failed to identify asbestos containing materials in the surveys we undertake. In addition, we offer Asbestos Awareness training courses at a competitive £55 per person here at our training rooms or for as little as £295 for up to 20 delegates at your premises throughout the UK.  Call the office for a quote on 0161 761 4424.

Published Sep 05, 2012
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