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UNIVERSITY EXPOSED STAFF AND STUDENTS TO ASBESTOS RISK

Asbestos surveys over number of years failed to prompt remedial action

Lincoln University has been fined for putting staff, students and contractors at risk of exposure to asbestos. The failings emerged in February 2010 when a lecturer became trapped in a room after a door lock broke.

She enlisted the help of a colleague to release her and once freed noticed debris around the door handle. The university health and safety department examined the door and others in the area revealing most were lined with asbestos insulating board (AIB), and that some were damaged. 

HSE were notified and found that a number of areas across the university estate had been subject to asbestos surveys over a number of years. Many areas were found to contain asbestos-containing materials or asbestos debris yet no remedial action had been taken.

Management plan in place was not followed

Lincoln University Higher Education Corporation, of Brayford Pool, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court today. The university was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £12,759 costs.

After the hearing at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court HSE inspector Edward Walker said:

“Exposure to asbestos fibres is a well known health hazard that results in approximately 4,000 deaths a year.

The university had an asbestos management plan but had failed to follow it and failed to take appropriate steps to manage the risks associated with asbestos over a number of years, putting staff, students and contractors at risk of potential exposure.”

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