Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Asbestos error costs UK firm 80k

A British company has been hit with a bill for more than $80,000 USD after two workers were exposed to asbestos at Reading University.

Winnersh firm Gardner Mechanical Services (GMS) Ltd did not tell the men the toxic substance was present before they carried out the mechanical work.

GMS, of Grovelands Avenue Workshops, admitted breaching safety regulations at Reading Crown Court on Monday and was fined.

An investigation by the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) found GMS subcontracted the project in September 2009 to a Newbury-based company, which hired two self-employed men, Andrew Lloyd and Steve Taylor, to do the job.

The court heard how the men drilled through a sprayed asbestos ceiling coating on September 2, 2009, after GMS, as the principal contractor, failed to inform them that some asbestos materials were still on site, or remove it before the work began.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Wycherley said: "This case highlights the importance of effective planning when addressing risks in construction, particularly in refurbishment, where there is a higher risk of coming into contact with asbestos.

"Gardner Mechanical Services had a clear duty of care to relay important information to its subcontractors in order to prevent their exposure to asbestos, but this simply did not happen.

"As a result of poor planning on the part of GMS, two men were exposed to high levels of asbestos fibres, leaving them at risk of contracting serious diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis of the lungs."

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