Contractor fined for exposing workers to Asbestos

A Decorating and Refurbishment contractor has been fined for exposing employees, agency staff and members of the public to asbestos.In 2009 a refurbishment project was undertaken over several weeks at Sentinel House, Nuffield Industrial, Poole by MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd.During the project the contractor began removing ceilings at the two story block without carrying out a suitable asbestos survey in advance to determine whether asbestos was present. The appropriate survey prior to any works being carried out would have been the asbestos Refurbishment Survey.When visiting the site the HSE Inspector found widespread asbestos contamination both inside and outside the building. Investigations also revealed that some of the other material that had been removed from the site may have been asbestos containing but may have been treat as non hazardous material.As a result of the contractors actions four employees and fourteen agency staff working under the control of the contractor had been exposed to the dangerous asbestos fibres.It took over two weeks for the MJC Contractors to remove the asbestos insulation board (AIB) ceiling. During this period the contractors were only wearing normal clothing and face masks if worn at all.MJC Decorating and Refurbishing Ltd, of London Road, North Cheam, Sutton, Surrey, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations. It was fined a total of £45,000 and ordered to pay £36,943 in costs.Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Helena Tinton, said:”This was a very serious incident which carries severe risks for people’s health.”MJC’s safety failings led to the needless exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres of its employees, agency staff and the wider public. The firm didn’t carry out a suitable survey for asbestos material before the work started and failed to provide protection for workers on site.”Regulations on dealing safely with asbestos have been in place for many years and are widely known in the industry.”This totally needless incident would not have happened if MJC had carried out proper assessments.”This once again highlights the importance of following the correct procedures and ensuring that an asbestos survey has been carried out to locate any possible asbestos containing materials. After all it is the law.asbestos dust, asbestos exposure, asbestos surveys

Government U Turn on Asbestos

Asbestos BirminghamYet another government U-turn which this time will see victims of asbestos exposure and their families denied access to vital compensation.It was expected that the latest Queens Speech would include a Mesothelioma Bill which would provide payouts to sufferers who were – as in many cases unable to trace the employer who may have exposed them to the deadly asbestos fibres.Although there will be a fund, the £335m in it fell far short from what was promised.Previously a fund for a £400m was suggested – mainly funded by insurers – put forward by Labour, but progress ground to a halt after the Coalition came to power.So what does this mean now?Only victims of mesothelioma will be helped – not people dead, or dying, from other asbestos-related conditions.Because of a complicated banding system payouts will only be 70% of the average compensation levels for asbestos.A huge number of older cases will be denied help due to the fact that only those diagnosed after July 2012 will receive payouts.Under the original plan, payouts were promised for all those with fatal asbestos- related conditions with no insurer – not simply mesothelioma cases.Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Deaths from asbestos are entirely preventable. For decades, Governments and employers knew the risks but chose to do nothing. “It is disgraceful that even now they are trying wherever possible to deny workers compensation.”UCATT seized on the revelation that major insurers met Lord Freud, the welfare minister, no fewer than 14 times to discuss the Bill, over two years.Mr Murphy added: “This watered down scheme demonstrates that the Conservatives are in the pocket of the insurance industry.”Asbestos was used in shipbuilding, construction and the automotive industry, exposing workers. Carpenters, joiners, plumbers and heating engineers are at particular risk.

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