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    NHS TRUST, CONTRACTOR AND DIRECTOR IN COURT

    Asbestos fibres released during running of cables during refurb work

    A security firm, company director and NHS Trust have all been fined after asbestos fibres were released in a county hospital in 2008.

    Engineers ran cables through false ceilings and partition walls in public areas of the hospital. The work resulted in asbestos fibres being released into the hospital, which had remained open to the public and staff alike.

    Failures in communication and false assumptions

    The Trust did not ensure the contractor received information on asbestos in the building and failed to manage asbestos. The contractor erroneously assumed areas of the hospital did not contain asbestos whilst the director failed to ensure his surveys were sufficient to identify the presence of asbestos.

    • Northamptonshire NHS Teaching Primary Care Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,755.
    • NUTEC Security Systems Ltd, of Northampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5(a), 10 (1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The company was fined a total of £ 4,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,755.
    • Paul Beeby, of Flore, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. He was fined £1,200 and also ordered to pay £ 1,755 costs.

    HSE inspector Karl Raw said:

    “The lack of planning meant that there was potential for workers and members of the public to be exposed to asbestos. There’s no way of knowing the extent of the exposure as work in some areas had been completed and cleaned before the potential exposures were uncovered.

    Asbestos can be very dangerous and regulations are there to minimise risk. Had this job been properly planned then any disturbance of asbestos could have been avoided.”

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