Firms Urged To Act Following Rotherham Asbestos Fine

Expert Urges Firms To Take Risks Seriously

31.01.2011

Businesses across the UK have been urged by an asbestos claims specialist to ensure they take the risks posed by the material seriously, after a Rotherham firm was fined for failing to protect a worker from exposure.

The Health and Safety Executive has revealed that 2010 Rotherham Ltd was fined £7,000 with £3,418 costs after it failed to provide the results of an asbestos survey to a sub-contractor responsible for removing an old bathroom from a council house in Orchard Place.

An employee of the sub-contractor then removed tiles bonded to a wall of asbestos insulating board without wearing either protective clothing or respiratory protection of any form. It is thought that plumber may have been exposed to up to 50 times the legal limit for asbestos.

The court was also told that 2010 Rotherham Ltd had received advice and enforcement action regarding asbestos previously.

Adrian Budgen, who specialises in cases of asbestos-related disease at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Companies cannot underestimate the importance of ensuring they provide those working on projects related to asbestos are given full and proper support, whether that is access to the correct information or vital protective equipment.

“What is particularly concerning about this case is that a survey was carried out on a property similar to that which was being refurbished by the sub-contractor and asbestos was found. However, those details were not passed on to the relevant sub-contractor.

“We deal with hundreds of cases every year in which people have been exposed to asbestos – the biggest occupational killer of all time – because of the negligence of employers. Many of those workers also often go on to face the trauma of suffering the fatal lung cancer mesothelioma.

“This is simply unacceptable and we urge all businesses to ensure they do everything in their power to prevent any more workers from suffering.”