• Robert Spicer

Bath Asbestos Health And Safety Prosecution

Asbestos exposure: £5000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Geoff Thomas and Son Ltd (2014) Bath magistrates’ court, March 19

Geoff Thomas and Son Ltd, a building contracting firm, has been fined after two ofits employees were exposed to asbestos dust.

Significant points of the case

  • The company was contracted by Curo Places Ltd to replace a basement ceiling in a house in Bath.

  • Two employees used hand tools and pulled down the ceiling, which was made of asbestos board, by hand.

  • The company had not checked for the presence of asbestos. When it was discovered that asbestos was present, the employees were sent off to do other jobs without decontaminating their tools or their clothes.

  • The company had failed to make any assessment for the presence of asbestos before work was started. When the presence of asbestos was identified, the company failed to prevent its spread.

  • The company was not licensed to deal with asbestos and it failed to notify the HSE in advance of the work.

The company was fined £5000 plus costs of £637 under regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, for failing to assess the presence of asbestos and failing to prevent the spread of asbestos.

A spokesperson for the HSE commented after the case that the long-term effects of exposure to asbestos materials was the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and the exposure of the two workers to this dangerous substance had been entirely preventable.

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