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Surrey Decorating Firm Fined £45,000 For Asbestos Exposure
Posted by David Cant on May 16, 2013
1 Comment

Asbestos Surveys BirminghamWhilst the use of asbestos materials was banned in the UK completely in 1985, it is still commonly found in many pre-existing buildings, and therefore needs to be kept firmly in mind when carrying out buildings safety checks prior to any development work.

This is a fact which one Surrey based firm overlooked, resulting in heavy fines, and potentially life threatening risks to its employees, local staff, and members of the public.

The Danger Of Asbestos Contamination

Asbestos is a material which, when damaged or broken, results in very fine particles becoming airborne, and which may easily enter the lungs of anyone close by. Once in the lungs it is possible that serious respiratory conditions can arise, including life threatening conditions which are untreatable.

This is why the safe treatment and removal of asbestos is paramount. It is also why the HSE requires that prior to any buildings maintenance or redecoration a thorough assessment is carried out to ascertain whether asbestos is present. If it is then specialist procedures will be required to ensure the safety of employees and anyone in the local vicinity.

Safety Inspection Failures Put Lives At Risk

MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd, based in Sutton, Surrey, were commissioned to carry out refurbishments at a business property in Poole during 2009. Part of this work involved the removal of ceilings, a task which frequently reveals the presence of asbestos.

Unfortunately MJC failed to carry out the appropriate HSE required safety inspections for asbestos, and over a period of two weeks removed asbestos ceiling tiles without any safety procedures in place.

A site inspection carried out by the HSE revealed the widespread presence of asbestos, and highlighted the very grave risks which had been incurred. Employees working for MJC had not been provided with suitable safety clothing or breathing apparatus, and contaminated materials had been carried through areas frequented by staff working on other areas of the building, and through areas where members of the public were also exposed to the harmful dust and fibres.

Additionally the employees’ clothing had gathered a quantity of asbestos dust, and this had been carried away from the building site, potentially exposing an even greater number of people to the harmful material.

The Price For Failing To Carry Out Appropriate Site Safety Checks

The case recently reached Bournemouth Crown Court where MJC Decorating and Refurbishment Ltd was found guilty of three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,943.

This case underlines the essential need for a full buildings site health and safety inspection, not only saving very significant sums of money along with the associated negative publicity, but a great many people’s lives.

At Veritas Consulting we can offer you a full site asbestos survey and full advice on checking buildings for the presence of asbestos. Call one of our team today on 0800 1488 677 and we’ll help make sure that you keep on the right side of all current health and safety regulations.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Asbestos Surveys, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety

One Comment

  1. August 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Getting your building/home checked for asbestos which may have been used years ago is very important for your long term health. Ensuring you don’t disturb it is also very important and so do your research and make sure you get professionals to asses it.

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