20 February 2014
Debdale Specialist Care Fined for No Proper Asbestos Management Plan
Debdale Specialist Care Ltd operators of Thistle Hall Care Home in Debdale Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse has been reminded about the costly repercussions of not managing Asbestos within a workplace.
The provider was ordered by Nottingham Crown Court to pay £24,000 towards fines and costs after an investigation in March 2012 by the Health and Safety Executive reported that there was no proper Asbestos management plan for the Home. Further, a survey found Asbestos in loft areas where maintenance staff worked without any knowledge of its presence of or being warned by the Home of the potential dangers.
Debdale Specialist Care Ltd subsequently engaged a specialist Asbestos removal company, which removed a significant number of Asbestos-containing materials from the loft areas and helped it to implement an Asbestos management plan.
His Honour Judge Sampson noted during sentencing that the company had accepted that the presence of Asbestos in the loft areas was not managed effectively and to the extent required by law. He also noted several other features including; the length of time the employees worked in the loft areas without the benefit of an adequate Asbestos management plan; the late guilty plea and the failure to retain and act upon a full Asbestos survey, specifically by failing to appoint anyone with the specific task of overseeing Asbestos safety until 2008
Keith Hague, Solicitor in the Chest & Asbestos Disease Group of Slater and Gordon, Sheffield reiterated the concern of those exposed to the deadly Asbestos fibres saying;
“The presence of Asbestos in a care home is extremely worrying and should be of concern to us all. I am, however, encouraged by the response of the Court and Environmental Health officers in pursuing this very serious matter and imposing a fine. The Control of Asbestos Regulations requires anyone with responsibility for the repair or maintenance of non-domestic premises to manage the risks of any Asbestos present. This may not always require removal of the Asbestos, as in this case, though monitoring and management of the risks of the Asbestos are mandatory
In order to facilitate any future legal claim Slater and Gordon maintain a national register of individuals who have been exposed to Asbestos. If you believe you have been exposed to Asbestos please contact Dominic Smith on 0161 383 3527 to register your exposure.”