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PROSECUTION ASBESTOS IN SCHOOL

Refurbishment specialist failed to assess asbestos risk

Westpoint Schoolcare Ltd has been fined for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The firm was fined £1k and ordered to pay costs of £515 after pleading guilty to failing to properly assess whether asbestos was present before starting refurbishment work at a Manchester school. The company also failed to take the necessary steps to prevent employees being exposed to asbestos dust and undertook licensable work without holding a licence.

The school provided information from their asbestos register clearly identifying that the ceiling tiles contained 5 to 50% amosite asbestos. However, the company did not properly act on this information and failed to instruct their employees on the presence of asbestos or how to work without disturbing the asbestos ceiling tiles.

Comment: On the basis of the HSE account of the facts of the case the penalty of £1,000 would appear remarkably lenient. However, the impact on the ability of the company to secure future work may be severely compromised now that it has been successfully prosecuted for asbestos offences in a school.

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