London based property firm Optima Cambridge Ltd have been fined £80,000 for a catalogue of safety breeches and failing to adequately train staff with regards to asbestos.
Optima were renovating the Burton Brewery building in 2009 and 2010. Burton magistrates court heard how Optima ‘put profit before safety’ by failing to protect its workers against asbestos exposure.
Magistrates heard that the site manager of the renovation project, Dominick Jaslowski “fell short of what was expected of him’ when he ordered his workers to carry asbestos-contaminated rubble into the basement, which was then bricked up instead of being disposed of safely. These workers were not trained or given adequate protective equipment.
The whistleblower, who alerted HSE of Optima’s negligence, said ‘“I often came across sheets of asbestos lying around the building. At one point, I was even asked to move a mound of rubble. I happily plodded along and moved it – there must have been four or five tonnes.
“I had no idea what was in the rubble but, since reading about the court case, I have been worried it was asbestos.
27 tonnes of asbestos-laced rubble were discovered in the basement in waste bags sealed with cling film, workers had been given inadequate masks to stop them from inhaling the toxic dust.
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Published May 03, 2013