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PROSECUTIONS AFTER FIRMS IGNORE ASBESTOS WARNING

Surveyor warned of fork trucks operating in asbestos contaminated areas

Fosters of Thrybergh Ltd has been prosecuted after continuing to expose workers to dangerous asbestos-containing materials despite advice from the local council. The risk was removed after HSE issued a formal notice prohibiting entry into two warehouses run by local storage firm, Rotherham Bonding Company Ltd

Magistrates heard the Council bought the warehouses from Fosters of Thrybergh Ltd in July 2009 and arranged for a professional asbestos survey before demolishing the buildings. In the meantime Rotherham Bonding Company, which ran the warehouses, was using staff from its sister company, Fosters of Thrybergh, to empty them of their stock of wine and spirits.

A council surveyor observed large amounts of damaged asbestos-containing materials on the floors where forklift trucks were operating. He informed all parties but nothing was done and work was allowed to continue. HSE was informed and samples taken showing that 18 of 20 samples contained significant concentrations of asbestos.

Building managers have duty to manage

Fosters of Thrybergh Ltd, Doncaster Road, Thrybergh, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £5,500 with £6,250 towards costs.

After the hearing, Inspector Mark Welsh said:

“Fosters of Thrybergh was prosecuted because it was directly responsible for the exposure to asbestos of about six of Fosters’ employees. This breach could and should have been avoided by straightforward safety precautions.

This is a particularly shocking incident as not only did this firm not undertake an asbestos survey, they completely ignored the advice given by the council and a specialist surveyor.

Asbestos-related diseases are responsible for around 4,000 deaths every year. Building managers have a duty to identify the presence and condition of asbestos and, where necessary, engage a suitably qualified company to remove it safely. HSE will not hesitate to take action against those who fall short of the law.”

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