The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and his new bride Kate, have chosen their new marital home but will not be able to move in for around a year due to problems with asbestos. This, coupled with recent large fine for muti-national giant Marks and Spencer for failing to protect both staff and customers from the risk of asbestos exposure, just goes to show that asbestos shows no respect for wealth or grandeur.
The Royal couple have chosen Princess Margaret’s old home as their permanent abode at KensingtonPalace, but cannot move in for two years due to the extensive amount of repairs needed, including the removal of large sections of asbestos. Asbestos is a type of mineral commonly found in nature. When left intact, it generally poses no threat, but when its fibers become loose, they can be breathed in by victims, leading to a slew of terrible diseases, such as mesothelioma.
We can see therefore that it is of huge importance for people to be protected from harmful exposure to asbestos fibres and that the Health and Safety laws surrounding such exposure apply to everyone including businesses, large or small.
In 2008, the multi-national company John Lewis PLC was fine £20, 000 after admitting that they failed to do proper checks for asbestos while carrying out refurbishment works at one of their city centre department stores. The court heard that workers discovered what they suspected to be asbestos boarding between two radiators and correctly covered the board, reporting it to management. It was stated that the management did send a sample of the board off for analysis but illegally allowed work to continue pending the results. In order to protect the workers, the project should have been halted there and then, and not when the result was found to be positive.
More recently, Marks and Spencer was fined £1 million in September 2011 for failing to protect customers, staff and workers from potential exposure to asbestos during refurbishment of one of its stores. Construction workers removed asbestos in ceiling tiles and elsewhere during the work at stores in Reading between 2006 and 2007 but M & S management was found to have been more concerned about the works being “unsightly” and “interfering with the shopping experience” of customers than the potential for people to be exposed to the cancer-causing material. The three-month trial atWinchestercrown court was told that M&S did not allocate sufficient time and space for the removal of the material inReadingand contractors had to work overnight before the shop opened to the public each day. M and S were found guilty of two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Here at Armco Asbestos Consultants we can offer companies extensive advice on how they can ensure they operate within the law concerning asbestos and protect their contractors, employees and customers. With over 20 years of industry experience, our surveyors are fully trained in undertaking both Management and, Refurbishment and Demolition, Surveys on all types of properties, large and small. In addition, we can provide sampling, consultancy, training including asbestos awareness and, licensed and non-licensed asbestos removals.
For further information, please telephone the office on 0161 763 3727 or navigate this website or www.armco.org.uk.
Published Nov 21, 2011