Construction company fined for asbestos disturbance

Yet another firm has been taken to Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for asbestos safety failings, Asbestos Justice has reported.

Amey Communities Limited, a company based in Oxford, was contracted by Lings Primary School in Northampton, to carry out refurbishment work on the roof of the school. During the works, employees of Amey Communities disturbed asbestos insulation boards in a small plant room.

The incident happened in November 2014 and the HSE found that Amey Communities’ project management arrangements had been insufficient. Not only had the company failed to identify asbestos materials present, they had also failed to ensure employees had received relevant asbestos awareness training.

The case was brought before Northampton Magistrates’ Court and the company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs.

This is yet another example of the ongoing legacy of asbestos. Many people assume that asbestos is no longer an issue, having been banned in the UK 16 years ago, but this is clearly not the case.

Asbestos diseases including mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening, all have latency periods of between 10 and 50 years. It is thought that the occurrence of the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma will peak in the UK in the next couple of years and thankfully, should then decline. However, with each month we learn of more companies failing to protect their employees against asbestos, putting them at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma has no cure but as the disease is expected to die out as the years since the ban of asbestos increase, little funding is provided into research covering the best way to treat and hopefully one day, cure of this terrible disease. If companies continue to fail their workers by exposing them to asbestos, it will be quite some time before mesothelioma becomes a thing of the past.

Fortunately, mesothelioma is a rare condition and only a low percentage of those who have been exposed to asbestos are unlucky enough to be affected. However, if you have been let down by your employer and have recently been exposed to asbestos, you should:

  • Inform your GP
    • Having details of previous asbestos exposure in your medical records will assist your doctor in the future if you develop symptoms that could be attributed to an asbestos related condition.
  • Get insurance details
    • Although no amount of money can rid you of an asbestos related condition, making a claim for asbestos compensation can help with care and travel costs. In 10 to 50 years, the company you work for may no longer exist, so obtaining details of the insurers at the time you were exposed to asbestos will assist in making a claim in the future.
  • Get witnesses
    • Get any witnesses to your asbestos exposure to write down how, where and when you were exposed to asbestos. Make a note of their contact details as well as this may help if you need to make an asbestos claim later on.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos claim you can contact Asbestos Justice on their freephone number 0800 038 6767.

Alternatively, go to their ‘Contact’ page, complete the form and they will be in touch.