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    PROSECUTION ASBESTOS

    HSE question deterrent effect of asbestos offence fine

    Lothian Heating Services (LHS) has been fined £8k after employees were exposed to asbestos fibres while renovating the heating system at an Edinburgh church in May 2007.  LHS failed to take effective steps to discover whether asbestos might be present in the building before beginning work contrary to The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

    Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told the court: “I have to take into account the obvious dangers the cumulative effects of exposure and the prevalence of exposure in this particular industry. Three employees were exposed to the risk of inhalation of asbestos dust over a period of five days while working in a relatively confined area.”

    However, HSE Principal Inspector, Jim Skilling, is reported to have said “I’m devastated at the size of the fine; it does not send a deterrent to anybody.” He went on to add “We have previously advised this company and they have not taken that advice. The same director was involved and they obviously haven’t learned their lesson – I’m really unhappy about this.” Gavin Anderson representing LHS said this was a first offence, the company took the incident very seriously and acted quickly informing HSE after being notified asbestos was present.

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