“Birmingham School and Glass Firm Fined For Exposing Workers to Asbestos” Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the Health and Safety Executive, a Birmingham-based academy and a glass contractor, have been jointly fined, after exposing almost several people to potentially lethal asbestos fibres at Aston Manor Academy. (1)

Asbestos Warning

Asbestos Warning

Several people were needlessly put at risk of being exposed to a serious health hazard.

Birmingham Glass Services Ltd and Equitas Academies Trust - owner and operator of Aston Manor Academy - were prosecuted by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, on Thursday 14th November, after the Health and Safety Executive identified several asbestos failings.

According to the Health and Safety Executive press release, strips of asbestos insulating board packers were discovered, during the installation of new windows. It is believed, that two BGS workers – who allegedly were not provided with any information about the presence of asbestos containing material – broke the asbestos boards, and dumped them next to an asbestos decontamination unit, which licensed asbestos contractors were using for an unrelated work on the site.

As reported by the press release, the two workers had not received asbestos awareness training, nor were they provided with any protective equipment. As a consequence of their actions, asbestos fibres were unwittingly released on the site, and workers were exposed to the deadly material. (1)

Commenting on the news, Adriano D’Ambrosio, Executive at Asons Solicitors, said that:

“According to the HSE Press Release, it is alleged, that the two employees who carried out the work had not been warned about the presence of asbestos. As a result, several people were needlessly put at risk of being exposed to a serious health hazard. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres was entirely preventable, and these circumstances highlight the importance of asbestos surveys.

“Any firm that is appointed to carry out work to the fabric of a property, built prior to the year 2000, must ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps to check whether asbestos is present before any work starts; such information must be available to anyone involved in the work.

“Here 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, safeguarding the health of the people involved. The unnecessary exposure to asbestos fibres could have been prevented, simply by adhering to basic legal requirements.”

“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.”

As reported by the press release, decontamination, and the replacement of floor coverings cost the school £20,000. Moreover, furnishings, and the children’s work had to be disposed of, and part of the school could not be used for an extended period of time.

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Paul Thompson said:

“This incident could have been avoided, had the academy put procedures in place, to ensure that relevant parties understood their duty to minimise the risk of asbestos exposure, within the school.

“Although the school had not been under local authority control since 2011, they had failed to ensure that employees, and management, received adequate training to make up for the loss of local authority support. Consequently, they failed to ensure that a suitable asbestos management plan was in place.

“By not providing asbestos awareness training to their operatives, and not taking steps to ensure that they had located the asbestos before work commenced, Birmingham Glass Services Ltd failed in their duty to protect their employees, and members of the public, from potential asbestos exposure.

“Workers exposed to asbestos could have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, as the fibres may be taken home, carried on their contaminated clothing.

“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Building owners, and contractors, have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure. Equitas Academies Trust, and Birmingham Glass Services Ltd, failed to do so.”

As reported by the HSE, Birmingham Glass Services Ltd were fined £5,000, and ordered to pay £1,969 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Equitas Academies Trust was fined £7,500, with £3,000 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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 information is available at http://www.asons.co.uk or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    HSE - School and glass contractor fined for asbestos failings, 14/11/2013 press.hse.gov.uk/2013/school-and-glass-contractor-fined-for-asbestos-failings/
(2)    Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, 14/11/2013 – Case Number U20131497

-ENDS-

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(dot)co.uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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