Marks And Spencer Fined £1m Over Asbestos Failings

Retailer And Contractors Prosecuted Over Problem

28.09.2011

An expert at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in helping those affected by asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma has welcomed the fine given to Marks and Spencer over its failure to protect workers and the public from the deadly material.

The high street retailer was fined £1 million over failures to keep people safe from exposure to asbestos-containing materials during the refurbishment of stores in Reading and Bournemouth. Three contractors were also fined in relation to the problems.

In a court hearing, it was heard that Marks and Spencer failed to ensure there was enough time and space to guarantee the safe removal of the materials, while contractors failed to follow guidance in the appropriate manner.

Adrian Budgen, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell's national asbestos disease litigation team, welcomed the fine because it has brought the seriousness of the issue into the spotlight.

He explained: “This fine demonstrates why it is vital that the dangers of asbestos are taken seriously by authorities and why all kinds of companies need to do everything they can to meet the necessary safety guidelines.

“On too many occasions we have seen just how devastating the legacy of exposure to asbestos can be. We have also represented shopfitters who have suffered serious illnesses years after coming into contact with the deadly material while installing it in Marks and Spencer stores around the country.

“Lessons need to be learnt from cases like this and all retailers involved in refurbishment work need to ensure that their staff, and also the firms working on their behalf, comply with legal safety standards.

“Such regulations exist to protect as many people as possible from the dangers of asbestos and we hope that, if any good is to come from this case, it will be that companies understand the hazards and do not make these mistakes again.”

Our expert mesothelioma lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.