Recently, a family-run plumbing and heating firm has been ordered to pay out more than £50,000 after two subcontractors suffered exposure to asbestos whilst working at Reading University.
On Monday October the 8th, the Magistrates Court heard that the company had been contracted to undergo a mechanical service upgrade in a room at the University in September 2009. The work was subcontracted to another firm, who subcontracted again to two self employed men, Andrew Lloyd and Steve Taylor, to complete the work.
During the work, the two men drilled through a ceiling, which was covered in a sprayed asbestos coating. This was unknown to them at the time and subsequently exposed them to asbestos fibres.
The two men had not been told that asbestos was present in the room and it was believed that the asbestos had been removed by specialist contractors sometime before hand.
An investigation into the matter by the HSE found that GMS had known that some asbestos was left on site, but it was safe in its current state, before it was disturbed. The information was not passed onto the subcontractors from GMS, which was the cause for concern. In addition to this, there was the failure to remove the asbestos from the site before work started.
GMS admitted to breaching health and safety regulations and was fined £28,000 and ordered to pay an additional £22,631 in costs.
HSE inspector Adam Wycherley said: “This case highlights the importance of effective planning when addressing risks in construction, particularly in refurbishment, when 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.”
This highlights the danger that asbestos still poses to workers and the general public, even years after the usage was banned. If you have been in a similar position and had exposure to asbestos, then there is a chance that you are entitled to asbestos compensation. For those who have received an asbestos related diagnosis, there is a good chance that you will be able to claim compensation.Read More
Asbestos usage is banned in many countries around the globe after its adverse effects to health were discovered, but in some areas the mining of the material is still big business. One such country is Canada, with mines in Quebec still producing large amounts of the material. As it still provides for many jobs and is a major exporter to less developed countries such as India and China, the mines area still big business.
Some countries are calling for a worldwide ban on the substance, such as France, but it is unlikely to happen soon with such large amounts of money involved with the trade. Luckily in the UK and many other countries the dangerous substance has been banned and sufferers of asbestos related illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma can get compensation.
Due to the use of asbestos in developing countries and the lack of awareness in those who are exposed, it is a major concern for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Steps are being taken to inform those in danger, but due to the nature of the trade, it is often unlicensed and difficult to find those who have been exposed. Hopefully the education of workers will stop health problems in the future, but it looks like the people at risk will suffer in a similar way to those who have been exposed in the UK in the past.Read More
Asbestos exposure and smoking are two of the main causes for lung cancer. Many people who are exposed to asbestos are smokers, but now it seems that it may have been more than first though.
The huge illegal cigarette trade in the UK is said to cost the tax payer billions every year (Read More
As well as exposure to asbestos at work, there is still a risk to health from coming into contact with asbestos in public and around the house when renovating. If you find you have asbestos in your house, then you should seek out properly licensed companies who can remove the material safely and give you the satisfaction that no-one else will come to harm. If you find that you suffer from an asbestos related disease, you may still be entitled to asbestos related compensation, especially if the exposure was in a public place.
Recently, an unlicensed contractor has been prosecuted for removing asbestos improperly and for failing to clean and decontaminate a home in Greencroft Gardens, London.
Mr Peter Horrey, director of Bromley firm Absolute Asbestos Ltd, doctored a failed report on air quality so that it said it had passed and then instructed the owners it was safe to enter.
Mr Horrey had pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching asbestos regulations. He was given 6 months prison sentence for each charge, suspended for 2 years. He will also have to serve 300 hours community service, payRead More