Workers Exposed To Material During Refurbishment
The prosecution of a pub operator over an incident in which five workers were exposed to asbestos fibres highlights just how seriously the authorities take such matters, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has claimed.
Mitchells & Butlers Retail was fined a total of £14,001 after three electricians and two plumbers came into contact with the dangerous building material during refurbishment work at the White Horse in Darlington in 2007.
The tradesmen drilled into ceiling tiles which contained asbestos during the project while working in a kitchen area.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, an asbestos survey had been carried out, but that specific kitchen had not been included in the original works planning.
Roger Maddocks, who specialises in asbestos-related cases at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said: “What is perhaps most concerning about this incident is that while an assessment had been carried out, a change in the plans meant that it had not taken the offending area into account.
“Like many cases of asbestos exposure, this incident could have easily been avoided if the correct procedures had been followed.
“The size of the fine involved in this case must serve as a prime example as to how seriously the issue of asbestos exposure is taken.
“Employees deserve to know their wellbeing is taken seriously and adhering to the correct guidance in cases like this can be both vital and life-saving.”
Exposure to asbestos fibres can leave workers open to a range of risks, including the potential to contract mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung which causes the death of over 2,000 people every year in the UK. The number is also expected to rise over the next few years.