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Two companies have been fined a total of £15,000 for failing to deal with the removal of asbestos safely.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how two employees of a building renovation company had disturbed asbestos insulating board whilst they were carrying out refurbishment work at a former commercial premises undergoing conversion into flats in Romford. There had been no refurbishment or demolition survey carried out on the project, and the workers stripped out the asbestos containing material without any effective precautions and therefore received significant exposure to asbestos fibres.

Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 and a refurbishment / demolition survey is always required where a building is in need of upgrading, refurbishment or demolition.

While it was employees from one company who actually handled the dangerous material without due care and attention, it was found by the Health and Safety Executive that the main contractors for the refurbishment; a separate company, had failed to inform the contractors of the danger, and hence they too were fined and made to pay costs.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock that was widely used within the construction of homes and other buildings until 1999. There are three main types used:

  • Crocidolite (blue)
  • Amosite (brown)
  • Chrysotile (white)

Asbestos acts as an insulator – keeping heat in and cold out – and has good fire protection properties and also protects against corrosion, however it becomes incredibly dangerous if the fibres become airborne. If you drill, cut or break asbestos you release the tiny fibres which can easily get into the lungs where they stay, working themselves into the lining of the lungs. Here they can cause all kinds of issues such as asbestosis, pleural thickening and even Mesothelioma; a type of cancer of the lung lining.

Companies have a duty to protect their employees from exposure to asbestos, if you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos in the past, and is suffering in any way because of that exposure, you should contact one of our solicitors today. We have years of experience in dealing with claims associated with asbestos exposure, and we will swiftly be able to tell you if you are entitled to make a claim, and how much that could be worth. Contact us today to get the compensation you deserve.