Specialist Concerned Over Failure To Protect Workers
An asbestos specialist at Irwin Mitchell has called on companies to learn lessons from a case in which a contractor’s failure to meet safety guidelines meant workers were exposed to the deadly material.
Wayne Priestley of Lincoln Road, Nottingham was ordered to pay costs and serve 300 hours of community service in relation to the incident in October 2009, when he was working on a building site in Derby.
The principal contractor on the site provided him with a survey on the presence of asbestos in the former Allens Printers building and, despite not holding a licence to do so, he stated to the firm that he was able to carry out removal work.
He then got four men to undertake the job but failed to either supervise or share the contents of the survey with them. In addition, no risk assessment was carried out into the project.
David Cass, an asbestos claims specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said the details of the case were deeply alarming.
He explained: “We represent both workers who have been negligently exposed to asbestos and the families of those who have sadly died as a result of related illnesses such as mesothelioma.
“Through this work we see just how devastating asbestos-related diseases, widely regarded as the biggest occupational killers of all time, can be and as a result have repeatedly called for greater awareness of the dangers.
“Cases like this demonstrate that the massive danger posed by asbestos fibres is simply not getting through to many businesses and workers.
“Employers have a duty to provide necessary training and protective equipment to those who are likely to come into contact with asbestos, as well as to perform necessary risk assessments before projects start.
“Shocking cases like this need to become a thing of the past and it is time that building firms and contractors wake up to the very serious consequences of asbestos exposure.”