Basildon Crown Court has fined two Essex-based companies after ruling that they exposed workers to potentially deadly levels of asbestos over a period of years, despite being aware of the risks.
During the hearing, it was revealed that, when Connect Packaging Ltd moved into industrial units in Manor Road Trading Estate in 2007, asbestos was found in poor condition but the company failed to take any action.
Exposure to potentially dangerous Asbestos
This led to the company’s employees being exposed to the risks associated with airborne asbestos fibres.
In January 2009, Connect Packaging Ltd moved out of the premises. Although they began subletting the units to another company within its group, Creo Retail Marketing Ltd, they retained a level of responsibility for maintenance and repair work.
When Creo Retail Marketing Ltd appointed a new Health and Safety Officer in 2014, an asbestos survey revealed that there was a continuing risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres from a number of sources, including poorly-encapsulated blue asbestos.
Ongoing risk to health
If airborne asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can cause potentially fatal respiratory diseases and cancers.
The court heard that, whilst the two companies debated who was responsible for the cost of removing the asbestos, the workers continued to be exposed to the significant risks over an extended period of time.
In response to this, the court fined Connect Packaging Ltd £65,000 and ordered them to pay £8,150.23 in costs, whilst Creo Retail Marketing Ltd was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £8,149.63 in costs.
Keep your workforce safe
Prior to 1999, Asbestos was commonly used as a building material in the UK for a variety of applications, including fireproofing and insulation and it is estimated that 14 million properties were built during the period that asbestos was widely used.
If asbestos materials are in good condition, then they pose no risk. However, if they are damaged and the fibres become airborne, they can cause serious diseases. With this in mind, it’s important that you ensure that any asbestos in your working environment is contained quickly and removed safely in order to prevent any harmful fibres being inhaled.
Here at Salvum, our asbestos survey experts can identify whether there are any asbestos materials within your property and advise you on the next steps.
For further information about how our services can help to protect you and your workforce safe from the potentially deadly effects of asbestos, please get in touch with our skilled and experienced team today.