North East Company Fined £24,000 After Failing To Remove Asbestos

Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd Pleaded Guilty To Failings Resulting In Potential Asbestos Exposure

09.10.2015

A West Auckland packaging company has received a £24,000 fine after pleading guilty to two charges of failing to remove asbestos from their premises, resulting in potentially exposing employees to dangerous asbestos dust and fibres. 

An investigation was launched after asbestos was found last June following an asbestos management survey ordered by the company in 2008. The plan put in place to resolve the issue lapsed, resulting in the company pleading guilty. 

Health and Safety Executive inspector, Victoria Wise, suggested that no employees appeared to be affected by the exposure; however asbestos-related diseases symptoms appear decades after the exposure.

Following the news, specialist industrial disease lawyers from Newcastle law firm Irwin Mitchell have repeated their calls for more to be done to ensure everything that can be done to protect people from the dangers of asbestos is carried out. 

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and experts asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“We’ve seen too many tragic cases where exposure to asbestos dust has destroyed the lives of those that come into contact with it, therefore it’s concerning to see that Smurfit Kappa UK failed to ensure its workforce wasn’t exposed to asbestos dust.

“Many suffer from asbestos-related illnesses decades after being exposed to asbestos dust because precautions were not taken to protect them from the dangers of the material.

“The dangers of asbestos have been clear for decades and while regulations are in place there are still far too many cases where not enough has been done to protect people.

“Hopefully, this successful HSE prosecution will act as a reminder to companies to take the dangers of asbestos exposure seriously and ensure they act immediately when the potentially deadly substance is discovered in any of their buildings.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner