Frames Conservatories Direct Ltd (FCDL), a Suffolk window replacement company was fined after exposing workers to dangerous and hazardous asbestos material during work that replaced windows at a Westley Middle School in Bury St Edmunds.
Further, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court was informed that FDCL was not even licensed to work with asbestos, nor were the workers informed that they were handling asbestos or provided with any protective clothing or equipment to reduce any exposure.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the company after complaints were made by its employees and Westley Middle School's Headteacher. The alarm was raised when other contractors on site noticed that the FCDL were removing and handling asbestos without the necessary protective equipment and the site was closed down.
The school engaged a licensed contractor who undertook a strict and controlled programme of cleaning the asbestos sites within the school, which included air testing to ensure that the school was safe for its workers and students. Thankfully the work by FCDL was being undertaken during school holiday time.
Slater and Gordon Chest & Asbestos Disease Group Solicitor Alison Kerr, reminds us all about the dangers of asbestos within the workplace.
“This blatant risk to all concerned including its own employees is a timely reminder to all local and small business operators who do not have the required licence to remove asbestos from premises. It is essential that asbestos is properly identified, managed and where necessary, removed by specialist licensed contractors as soon as practicable to reduce any potential exposure.
Further, it highlights the work that is required to promote the dangers of asbestos in schools considering the review of the management of asbestos within schools being undertaken by the Department for Education.
Anyone exposed to asbestos should register this potential exposure as soon as possible. Slater and Gordon maintain a National Asbestos Register and we advise you to contact Dominic Smith on 0161 383 3527 to register any asbestos exposure.”
Further, the Health and Safety Executive have a number of resources with regards to the maintenance, removal and disposal of asbestos.