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MAJOR PLAYER FINED AFTER ASBESTOS PROSECUTION

Failure to follow asbestos survey advice led to exposure risk on MOD site  

Interserve (Defence) Ltd, of London has been ordered (on 08/09/2010) to pay over £40k in fines and prosecution costs after the company failed to follow the advice of an asbestos survey leaving workers at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres for over a year.

The company is a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest support service and construction companies.

An asbestos survey was undertaken in the boiler room at an MOD base in Bicester Oxfordshire in early 2005. The survey found that the whole room was considered to be contaminated with asbestos and recommended that access to the room should be restricted until it was removed.

Interserve failed to follow the advice of the survey and consequently workers were left at risk of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres for over a year.

Facilities managers must be aware

The company pleaded guilty to contravening the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2002 – Regulations 4, 6 and 10. The offences were committed at the Oxfordshire MOD site between 23 May 2005 and 30 September 2006.

HSE Inspector for Oxfordshire, Matthew Lee, said:

“Around 4,000 people die each year from past exposure to asbestos and the material may be present in any building built before the year 2000.

“It is therefore essential that duty holders and facilities managers are aware of the risk it still poses and their responsibilities in managing it.

“Facilities managers are key to ensuring that effective management systems are in place to protect workers and to ensure that duty holders meet their legal responsibilities.”

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