“Decorating Firm Fined Along With Council for Exposing Workers to Asbestos” Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to Health and Safety Executive, a Birmingham-based decorating firm, and North Warwickshire Borough Council, have been fined, after exposing workers to potentially lethal asbestos fibres. (1)

Asbestos Warning

Asbestos Warning

Refurbishment and demolition work must be planned and carefully thought through, especially where asbestos may be present.

Leamington Spa Magistrates’ Court heard, on Thursday the 31st of October, that the council appointed Intal Decorators Limited to remove asbestos insulation board from the community centre, in Eastlang Road, Fillongley. (Case Reference T20130153) (1)

According to the HSE press release, it is alleged that the decorating firm was not a licensed contractor. Consequently, it is believed that asbestos was spread around, rather than removed under controlled conditions. (1)

The court was told that, workers operating in the premises realised the danger of the potential exposure and reported the issue to managers. (1)

An inspection by HSE revelead the council had undertaken an asbestos survey, detailing the presence of the hazardous material, but had failed to pass information on to the decorating firm. In addition, it is alleged that the firm had also failed to carry out its own assessment, which would have revealed the presence of asbestos. (1)

Commenting on the news, Tom Fairclough, Executive at Asons Solicitors, said that:

“According to the HSE press release, it is alleged that no licensed contractor was present on site, and tradesmen were not warned about the dangers of asbestos exposure. As a result, they have been put at risk. Their exposure to airborne asbestos fibres was entirely preventable, and these circumstances highlight the importance of asbestos surveys."

"At Asons, we see many similar cases where safety guidelines and regulations have not been followed. I believe this incident could easily have been avoided simply by adhering to basic legal requirements, safeguarding the health of the people involved. Those who have experienced similar working conditions, or suffer from lung cancer, after being exposed to an asbestos-contaminated working environment, should not hesitate to make an asbestos claim.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Cooper said:

“Refurbishment and demolition work must be planned and carefully thought through, especially where asbestos may be present. It is reasonable to expect North Warwickshire Borough Council to have planned its work in such a way that workers were not put at risk of exposure to this deadly material.

“Intal Decorators Limited should have undertaken an assessment of the risks involved in its activities at the community centre and fulfilled its responsibilities as a contractor and employer to protect those on site.

“As a result of these failures Intal employees, and potentially other tradesmen on site, were exposed to harmful asbestos fibres.” (1)

North Warwickshire Borough Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, for failing to provide sufficient information, and instruction to its contractors, regarding the presence, nature, and scope of work involving asbestos. It was fined £10,000, and ordered to pay costs of £1,200. (1)

Intal Decorators Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, for removing asbestos-containing materials without carrying out an assessment. It was fined £5,000, and ordered to pay a further £500 in costs. (1)

Asons Solicitors have a dedicated team of industrial disease specialists, dealing with cases of asbestos related diseases, giving people legal advice, particularly in the area of asbestosis claims. Exposure to asbestos can be deadly, and Asons urge anyone who feels they may have been exposed to asbestos fibres to consult their GP immediately for a consultation, and contact an industrial disease specialist for legal representation.

Asons Solicitors suggest that if someone would like to learn more about the asbestosis compensation process, or if they would like to better understand the condition, that such information is available at http://www.asons.co.uk, or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    Health and Safety Executive - Council and decorating firm prosecuted for asbestos failings, 31/10/2013 press.hse.gov.uk/2013/council-and-decorating-firm-prosecuted-for-asbestos-failings/

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About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons.co(dot)uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

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