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.