News

Company and director fined after failing to manage Asbestos safely

Ace Recycling Limited and its sole director have been fined a total of £28,000 for health and safety breaches, including failing to ensure a suitable and sufficient assessment was completed to identify the presence of asbestos at a former factory site at Shaerf Drive, Lurgan.

James McCoubrey, director of Ace Recycling (NI) Limited, was also fined for failing to comply with a prohibition notice. The prohibition notice was served by an HSENI Inspector to prevent any further work involving asbestos from continuing at the site.

Demolition work at the former factory site commenced during December 2016 and continued through to February 2017. An independent contractor, not a licenced asbestos removal company, was tasked by James McCoubrey to remove asbestos containing materials from the site, the extent of which were unknown. Suitable precautions were not taken by the contractor during the demolition process to ensure the safe removal of asbestos.

Following receipt of a complaint regarding the alleged removal of asbestos, a HSENI Inspector visited the site at Shearf Drive on 8 February 2017. The Inspector served a prohibition notice preventing any further asbestos removal work from continuing. A subsequent visit by the same Inspector identified that the prohibition notice had not been complied with and further unnecessary asbestos contamination of the site had taken place.

HSENI Inspector Kyle Carrick said: “This case highlights the importance of surveying a property for asbestos to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from subsequent work activities.”

“The risk of exposure to asbestos could easily have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient assessment to identify the presence of asbestos had taken place before commencing demolition. In addition failure to comply with the prohibition notice in this case has resulted in workers being unnecessarily exposed to asbestos.”

Breaches and fines

ACE Recycling

Article 6 of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978: fine £9,000;
Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012: fine £9,000.


James McCoubrey Limited

Article 6 of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978: fine £4,000;
Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012: fine £4,000;
Article 31(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978: fine £2,000.

Original Source of Article: Safety & Health Practitioner & Barbour EHS

Dying doctor warns of asbestos ‘hidden epidemic’ caused by NHS failures

‘The managers who make these decisions, I don’t know how they sleep at night. They made an economic decision and it condemned me to death,’ Kate Richmond says

A doctor and mother of two with just months left to live has warned of a “hidden epidemic” of asbestos-related cancers among NHS staff and patients because hospitals have failed to properly handle the toxic material.

Kate Richmond, 44, has spoken out to raise awareness after she won a legal case against the NHS for negligently exposing her to asbestos while she was working as a medical student and junior doctor.

An investigation by The Independent has learnt there have been 13 prosecutions linked to NHS breaches of regulations for the handling of asbestos since 2010, while 381 compensation claims have been made by NHS staff for work-related diseases, including exposure to asbestos, since 2013, costing the health service more than £26m.

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, between 2011 and 2017, a total of 128 people working in health and social care roles died from mesothelioma, the same asbestos-related cancer which is killing Kate Richmond.

She described how maintenance staff removed asbestos ceiling tiles with no protective measures, allowing dust and debris to fall on to wards where patients were in their beds and staff were working. Managers at the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry failed to heed warnings by workers that they were putting people at risk.

“They made an economic decision that condemned me to death,” said Dr Richmond, adding: “No amount of money can compensate for my children growing up without their mother.”

She believes the true extent and cost for NHS staff and patients is likely to be much worse than current data suggests as it can take up to 50 years for disease to emerge after exposure.

Speaking to The Independent from her home in Australia, Dr Richmond, who has been told she may die as soon as July this year, described how she was exposed to asbestos at the old Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, run by the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust between 1998 and 2004.

As well as the exposure during maintenance work on wards, she said she regularly used underground service tunnels, where asbestos-lined pipes were common, to move between areas.

Her lawyers, from law firm Leigh Day, successfully brought a claim against the hospital after a former maintenance worker responded to a public appeal and corroborated her testimony that they openly worked on ceiling tiles and asbestos materials with no safety measures.

More than 20 former members of staff provided evidence of asbestos at the hospital and emails revealed managers had been warned of the risk. The court ruled there had been “serious and repeated failings”.

A decision on the amount of compensation she will receive may not be made for several months.

“I will be lucky if this comes to a close while I am still alive,” she added.

Explaining why she took legal she said: “The trust knew about it and they chose to do nothing. It is terrifying. I have become sick relatively early, but there are lots of other people who I worked with who could be affected in the future. I really wanted to make things easier for them. I felt I had a duty to my colleagues.

“I am far from unique, this is the tip of the iceberg. I strongly believe there is a hidden epidemic.”

She added: “We had no idea and just walked around the ladders with the dust and debris falling down into the ward where there were still patients in their beds.

“It is indefensible not to do the right thing. The managers who make these decisions, I don’t know how they sleep at night. They made an economic decision and it condemned me to death.”

Matt Hancock, help me and my colleagues save the NHS
The GP, who emigrated to Australia with her husband Brett, has endured six operations and chemotherapy after being diagnosed in May 2018.

She said: “My children were nine and six at the time and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I am not going to be around to bring them up. It has taken all my dignity, my ability to care for my children and I can’t work so it’s taken me away from my patients too.”

She and her husband are now having to prepare for life after her death.

“Brett has been very strong. We have long conversations about whether the kids should be there when I die, whether I am going to die in a hospice or hospital, all these conversations you never want to have. No amount of money can compensate for my children growing up without their mother.”

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lung and is almost always fatal, causing around 5,000 deaths a year.

Many older NHS hospitals built between the 1950s and 1980s may contain asbestos, which can be dangerous when disturbed. Strict regulations are in place for how to handle its removal.

The Health and Safety Executive said it had launched 13 prosecutions against six NHS trusts for asbestos failings since 2010.

In 2019 it prosecuted the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust after it exposed workers and contractors to asbestos despite concerns being reported to trust bosses by whistleblower Les Small, who won an unfair dismissal ruling against the trust before his death from cancer last year. The trust was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.

NHS Resolution, which handles compensation claims on behalf of hospital trusts, told The Independent: “Since 2013, NHS Resolution has received 381 industrial disease claims and has paid out £26.1m in compensation during this same period (damages and legal costs combined). However, these are matters that stretch back over many years.”

NHS Providers, which represents NHS hospitals, has warned the mounting backlog of maintenance work in the NHS, including dealing with older buildings that contain asbestos, is a risk to safety. It is calling on the government to launch a major investment programme.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers,​ said: “Ensuring staff and patient safety is a fundamental priority for trusts. That means being able to provide the right environment. But years of cuts to capital funding have made this increasingly difficult and this is showing.

“Trusts urgently need the resources to renew and refurbish buildings and equipment. Their staff, and patients, deserve nothing less.”

A spokesperson for the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Dr Richmond and her family at this difficult time. We believe there were stringent controls in place to manage asbestos at the old Walsgrave Hospital, which closed in 2006.

“After a thorough review with those directly involved at that time, the trust felt that the opportunity for any incidental exposure would have been very low. We are pleased that the settlement will enable Dr Richmond to meet her ongoing care needs and will provide security for her and her family into the future.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “Hospitals have established processes in place including undertaking inspections, maintaining a register and when appropriate disposing of relevant materials safely.”

She believes the true extent and cost for NHS staff and patients is likely to be much worse than current data suggests as it can take up to 50 years for disease to emerge after exposure.

Speaking to The Independent from her home in Australia, Dr Richmond, who has been told she may die as soon as July this year, described how she was exposed to asbestos at the old Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, run by the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust between 1998 and 2004.

As well as the exposure during maintenance work on wards, she said she regularly used underground service tunnels, where asbestos-lined pipes were common, to move between areas.

Her lawyers, from law firm Leigh Day, successfully brought a claim against the hospital after a former maintenance worker responded to a public appeal and corroborated her testimony that they openly worked on ceiling tiles and asbestos materials with no safety measures.

In a statement one worker described how debris fell from the ceiling: “We had to clean it up afterwards, so I just swept up the dust. It was always busy, so we just put a couple of cones up where we were working. The doctors and nurses walked past where we were working.”

More than 20 former members of staff provided evidence of asbestos at the hospital and emails revealed managers had been warned of the risk. The court ruled there had been “serious and repeated failings”.

A decision on the amount of compensation she will receive may not be made for several months.

“I will be lucky if this comes to a close while I am still alive,” she added.

Explaining why she took legal she said: “The trust knew about it and they chose to do nothing. It is terrifying. I have become sick relatively early, but there are lots of other people who I worked with who could be affected in the future. I really wanted to make things easier for them. I felt I had a duty to my colleagues.

“I am far from unique, this is the tip of the iceberg. I strongly believe there is a hidden epidemic.”

She added: “We had no idea and just walked around the ladders with the dust and debris falling down into the ward where there were still patients in their beds.

“It is indefensible not to do the right thing. The managers who make these decisions, I don’t know how they sleep at night. They made an economic decision and it condemned me to death.”

The GP, who emigrated to Australia with her husband Brett, has endured six operations and chemotherapy after being diagnosed in May 2018.

She said: “My children were nine and six at the time and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I am not going to be around to bring them up. It has taken all my dignity, my ability to care for my children and I can’t work so it’s taken me away from my patients too.”

She and her husband are now having to prepare for life after her death.

“Brett has been very strong. We have long conversations about whether the kids should be there when I die, whether I am going to die in a hospice or hospital, all these conversations you never want to have. No amount of money can compensate for my children growing up without their mother.”

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lung and is almost always fatal, causing around 5,000 deaths a year.

Many older NHS hospitals built between the 1950s and 1980s may contain asbestos, which can be dangerous when disturbed. Strict regulations are in place for how to handle its removal.

The Health and Safety Executive said it had launched 13 prosecutions against six NHS trusts for asbestos failings since 2010.

In 2019 it prosecuted the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust after it exposed workers and contractors to asbestos despite concerns being reported to trust bosses by whistleblower Les Small, who won an unfair dismissal ruling against the trust before his death from cancer last year. The trust was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.

NHS Resolution, which handles compensation claims on behalf of hospital trusts, told The Independent: “Since 2013, NHS Resolution has received 381 industrial disease claims and has paid out £26.1m in compensation during this same period (damages and legal costs combined). However, these are matters that stretch back over many years.”

NHS Providers, which represents NHS hospitals, has warned the mounting backlog of maintenance work in the NHS, including dealing with older buildings that contain asbestos, is a risk to safety. It is calling on the government to launch a major investment programme.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers,​ said: “Ensuring staff and patient safety is a fundamental priority for trusts. That means being able to provide the right environment. But years of cuts to capital funding have made this increasingly difficult and this is showing.

“Trusts urgently need the resources to renew and refurbish buildings and equipment. Their staff, and patients, deserve nothing less.”

A spokesperson for the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Dr Richmond and her family at this difficult time. We believe there were stringent controls in place to manage asbestos at the old Walsgrave Hospital, which closed in 2006.

“After a thorough review with those directly involved at that time, the trust felt that the opportunity for any incidental exposure would have been very low. We are pleased that the settlement will enable Dr Richmond to meet her ongoing care needs and will provide security for her and her family into the future.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “Hospitals have established processes in place including undertaking inspections, maintaining a register and when appropriate disposing of relevant materials safely.”

Original Source of Article: Independent.co.uk

Discovering asbestos in 21st century buildings

Since asbestos was banned in 1999, you won’t find it any buildings built after 2000 – right? …Wrong! …It’s still turning up in new buildings. This article from specialist testing house Socotec explains.

The Health & Safety Executive estimates that 5,000 people die every year in the UK from asbestos-related cancers, which can develop decades after initial exposure

When the Asbestos Prohibition (Amendment) Regulations 1999 banned the import, supply and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the UK, HSE guidelines stated that no asbestos fibrous minerals should be contained within commercial and non-domestic buildings constructed after the year 2000. But what is the recommended course of action when asbestos is discovered within post-2000 buildings?

Legislative loopholes

According to recent research, of the six million tonnes of asbestos imported into the UK, a substantial amount still remains in an estimated 1.5 million commercial buildings, as well as in more than two million private domestic properties. While the majority of these will be buildings constructed prior to the 1999 ban, there have been many occasions where asbestos will have been physically transported onto post-2000 premises… unbeknownst to the inhabitants.

Despite the legislation prohibiting the supply and usage of ACMs, there was in fact a loophole that excluded materials that were already in use prior to the ban being enforced. As a result, existing stocks of materials and products containing the fibrous mineral were permitted to remain active until they reached the end of their service life; and exemptions on the use of chrysotile were still in place until as late as 2005. As the ban did not legally mandate the removal and eradication of asbestos-containing products, it is easy to see that such materials that were well within their service life could easily have been transported into properties constructed after the year 2000.

There have also been cases where stockpiled ACMs have been used throughout the construction supply chain, particularly when taking importation legislation into account. British law states that all imports coming into the UK should be declared 100% free from asbestos; however, the declaration level outside of the UK varies considerably. Across Europe, the asbestos-free level is 0.1%, the USA at 1% and less than 10% across parts of Asia, meaning that there is room for error for ACMs to be imported in the UK.

Another example of asbestos discovery within buildings constructed after the 1999 ban is on brownfield sites, particularly when pre-2000 commercial and industrial buildings have been demolished or redeveloped to make way for new premises.

Asbestos is frequently discovered within the soil, rubble and debris of brownfield sites for a number of reasons, such as the site having been used for fly tipping, or if the redeveloped site was demolished prior to the implementation of the asbestos ban. It can also occur when those responsible for the redevelopment works do not take the required time and care to properly dispose of construction materials, or when they use asbestos-contaminated soil as top soil or backfill.

Where can asbestos be found?

Renowned for its insulating, heat resistant and strengthening properties, asbestos was commonly used within a range of different construction materials in the late 20th century, including roofing, sprayed and textured coatings, insulation materials, ceiling and wall panels, cladding, floor and roof tiles, textiles, soffits, water tanks, pipe lagging and gutters. Its versatility meant that it could be found in a range of locations within a building, from airing cupboards and fuse boxes to fireplaces and boilers.

Asbestos insulation board and cement also featured heavily in common household objects in the late 20th century, having been incorporated into such products as hairdryers, safes, dishwashers, ovens, washing machines, toasters and ironing boards. The fibrous mineral has also been discovered in more unusual objects over the years, including make-up, toilet seats, jewellery, cameras, radios, crayons, books, toys and even talcum powder. Collectors of antiques are required to proceed with caution when bringing these goods onto the premises, as this is yet another way in which asbestos can be discovered within a post-2000 property.

Post-2000 discoveries

Over the years, members of Socotec’s asbestos team have uncovered the fibrous mineral on a wide range of premises constructed after the nationwide ban. As said above, it is extremely common for older plant and equipment to be transferred into ‘newer’ buildings; it may contain asbestos or it has been brought in from a site surrounded by the hazardous fibres. This was the case in a UK prison surveyed in the early 2000s, which was found to be asbestos-containing following the discovery of plant that had been transferred from an older building containing asbestos gaskets.

Similarly, an old factory site full of asbestos was closed and relocated to a new, purpose-built facility constructed in 2004. As this was built after the ban, it was presumed that no ACMs were used within the construction materials, with no asbestos reinspection required. However, a group of old industrial ovens were transferred from the old site to the new factory, all of which were asbestos-containing.

Stockpiled construction materials have often been the cause of newer buildings being contaminated with asbestos fibres. Due to the fact that the 1999 legislation allowed asbestos-containing materials to be used until the end of their service life, it was common practice for builders to hold onto these or salvaging them from damaged or demolished structures to be used again. This was the case during an asbestos survey of a school in 2002, where a surveyor noticed that the contractor was re-roofing the veranda using asbestos-containing tiles. [Recycling is generally good, but not always – ed.]

Recommended actions

The general rule of thumb for duty holders or owners of buildings constructed after the year 2000 is to presume that there will be no asbestos located on the premises. However, it is still good practice to remain vigilant about the possibility of it being present, such as within old electrical equipment that has been transported into the building, or if post-2000 premises are built on existing basements or linked to adjoining structures.

Legislation and HSE guidance currently recommends that an asbestos-containing material can be left if it is in good condition and condition and unlikely to be disturbed or damaged, as it is only harmful to health when fibres are released into the atmosphere. However, if a material is presenting signs of ageing, damage and/or deterioration, or if repairs or refurbishment are to take place on or near to the material, it is time to call in a specialist to survey the level of risk and recommend remedial action.

Original Source of Article: Socotec UK

Suspended sentence for asbestos offences

An employer has been sentenced for failing to reduce exposure and spread of asbestos when demolishing a large pig shed.

In July and August 2018, whilst carrying out demolition and asbestos removal works at the former pig shed on Caenby Corner, Lincolnshire, Barry Patchett, trading as BSN Demolition, had failed to remove asbestos containing materials (ACMs) prior to commencing the work. Consequently, the ACMs were needlessly broken up in significant quantities across the site, leading to the risk of spreading asbestos fibres.

The HSE’s investigation found that Mr Patchett had received the relevant training on how to remove non-licenced asbestos and had submitted a plan of work to the client which included removing the asbestos sheets manually before demolition, which he chose not to follow. Mr Patchett also failed to have a copy of the plan of work on the premises for workers to follow at the time of the demolition.

Patchett of Firebeacon Farm, Wargholme, Louth pleaded guilty to contravening Regulations 7(2), 11(1) and 12 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, and was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for one year, and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Whitesmith said: “Asbestos related disease still kills around 5,000 workers each year. Asbestos is not just a problem of the past; it can be present today in any building or industrial process plant built or refurbished before the year 2000.”

“In this case, Mr Patchett failed to follow basic safe working practices required by the Regulations.”

Original Source of Article: Safety & Health Practitioner

UKATA urges employers to ensure apprentices are asbestos aware

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2020 (3 – 9 February) the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is urging employers to deliver asbestos awareness training to all apprentices.

The message comes amid efforts by UKATA, which is one of the UK’s leading authorities on asbestos training, to halt the growing numbers of tradespeople contracting fatal asbestos related diseases.

Research has shown that younger people, if routinely exposed to asbestos fibres over time, are at greater risk of developing deadly asbestos related diseases than older workers.

Providing apprentices with key information about asbestos at an early stage will enable them to challenge poor work practices and protect themselves.

Craig Evans, Chief Operating Officer of UKATA urged: “With the death toll from occupational exposure reaching crisis levels in the UK, UKATA is calling on all employers of apprentices working in trades, to receive asbestos awareness training as soon as possible, whether that’s through a college or with their employer.”

Apprentice electricians, plumbers, carpenters. joiners, heating and ventilation engineers, painters and decorators are just some of the 1.3 million tradespeople that are at risk from exposure to the killer building material. And the facts are startling:

Asbestos kills around 20 tradespeople in the UK every week, making it the single biggest cause of work-related deaths (Health & Safety Executive)
Electricians are almost 16 times more likely than the general population to develop the killer lung disease mesothelioma in their lifetime. (Occupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risks in the British population: a case-control study.)
Asbestos exposure kills 4 plumbers every week (Health & Safety Executive)
598 carpenters and joiners died between 1991-2000 as a result of an asbestos disease
1 in 17 British carpenters born in the 1940s will die of mesothelioma (Cancer Research UK and Health & Safety Executive)
The UK has the highest death rate from mesothelioma in the world. The risk is highest in people who were exposed to asbestos before age 30. (Institute of Cancer Research)
Despite the well-publicised health risks posed by asbestos, a 2017 survey conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of 500 tradespeople showed that less than a third were aware of the correct ways to deal with and handle asbestos in the workplace.

Craig explained: “It’s never too early to deliver asbestos awareness training to your workforce. The statistics show that the earlier in a person’s career they receive the appropriate training, then the better protected they are against developing asbestos related cancers in later life.

“A simple half day awareness course could prevent them from contracting a deadly disease and also ensure they don’t expose others to the dangers of asbestos.”

To ensure young people have access to asbestos awareness training before entering the workplace, UKATA is supporting the Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER) project.

The LOcHER project idea originated within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and aims to support colleges to help students develop valuable employment and life skills, so they feel equipped to lead change in their careers and the industries into which they progress.

For employers whose apprentices are yet to receive asbestos awareness training, UKATA advises that they access UKATA approved asbestos awareness training, either with a local provider or online.

“Asbestos awareness training is low cost and readily available. I urge all employers to book their apprentices on these half-day courses and provide them with a safe foundation for a long and safe career within the construction industry,” added Craig.

UKATA approved asbestos awareness courses are available both online and in training centres throughout the UK. Alternatively, the training provider may deliver on site.

Original Source of Article: Chesterfield.co.uk

Cordtape renews Sponsorship with local team, Eckington BFC

Eckington Boys Football Club was founded in 1983 by J. Adams, J. Gardner, J. Barden, A. Bailey, M. Wake and P. Reaney. The club formed from the old Halfway and Eckington Club when it was realised that the then Under 11’s were mainly from Eckington, and from this came the idea that Eckington could and should support a local team. From this small beginning the boys teams have gradually expanded to the current level participating in 12 different age groups.

Girl’s football is now very well established at the Club. They currently have an Under 11s and under 13s Girls Team playing in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Girls County Football League. They also have an established Girls Soccer School for Ages 7 to 13.

Last season has seen the introduction of the Club’s first U21 Team that have now gone onto the First Team open age. This will hopefully inspire younger players to extend their association with the club and reach this level of football and then eventually into Adult football.

There are now a total of 15 teams at the Club with over 200 boys playing each week-end throughout the season. We also have two Girls teams and approximately 30 to 40 boys and girls, between the ages of 4 and 13, attending the Soccer Schools every week.

UK children exposed to more asbestos than other countries – report

ResPublica says children can be exposed to 10 times as much as they would be in Germany

British asbestos regulation is so inadequate that a child can legally be exposed to 10 times as much of the toxic material as they would be in countries such as Germany, a report has warned.

The report, from the think tank ResPublica, calls for standards to be brought up to levels in the strictest European countries.

There are estimated to be about 6m tonnes of asbestos spread across 1.5m buildings in the UK, with about 80% of schools and 94% of NHS trusts containing it.

The report criticises the regulatory regime in the UK for allowing schoolchildren to inhale levels of airborne asbestos so much higher than are accepted elsewhere.

It argued that the technology used to measure airborne asbestos fibres in the UK is far less accurate than the techniques used in other countries. “A child inhales between five and 10 cubic metres of air per day, meaning the permitted levels of airborne asbestos in the UK can expose a child to 100,000 fibres per day, compared with 10,000 fibres in Germany,” the report said.

According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released in July, in 2017 there were 2,523 deaths from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the organs caused almost exclusively by the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

It is estimated that a similar number of people die from asbestos-related lung cancers.According to figures from the ONS, since 2001 at least 305 teaching and education professionals have died of mesothelioma. A 2018 study suggested that there were five times more deaths from mesothelioma among teachers and three times more among nurses than expected in populations not exposed to the substance.

The thinktank recommends that the UK government bring requirements for the management of asbestos up to the highest international standards, which it says are practiced in Germany, the Netherlands and France.

“The assumption is that the harm caused by asbestos is a historical issue relating to traditionally hazardous occupations and industries,” said the report’s authors.

“However, this view underestimates the dangers of chronic low-level exposure resulting from working in buildings containing asbestos. Mesothelioma can develop from exposure to only a small concentration of asbestos fibres, making secondary exposure no less a cause for concern.”

Between 1920 and 2000, Europe accounted for more than 50% of all asbestos traded throughout the world. The UK imported more asbestos per capita than any other country and has the highest rates of asbestos-related deaths in Europe.

The report also argues for the creation of a central register of all asbestosin public buildings across the UK – which should identify precise location, type and condition – and calls on the government to commission a cost-benefit analysis of the removal of all asbestos from them.

UK regulations state that asbestos should be maintained in situ rather than removed, provided it is in a “good condition and well protected either by its position or physical protection”. This approach has been criticised by unions for putting people at risk.

The director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said toxic material being allowed to sit in an increasing state of decay in our schools and hospitals coupled with the death rates among nurses and teachers were “a tragic indictment of the current system of containment and control”.

“The inability of our current health and safety regime to recognise and respond to the true extent of the dangers posed is even more worrying,” he said, adding that a “national health crisis awaits us and our children if we do not act now.”

A HSE spokesperson said there were stringent legal requirements for those responsible for public buildings in Britain to protect against the risks of asbestos. “There is only a significant risk if any asbestos already within the building fabric is disturbed,” they said.

“Great Britain led the way in 2002 to reduce these risks, when it introduced a new duty on those responsible for non-domestic buildings to locate and manage asbestos materials where it is decided it can be safely left in situ rather than removed.”

Original Source of Article: The Guardian

Blackpool Pier firm which let employees ‘vacuum asbestos’ from arcade carpets will be sentenced in 2020

The directors of one of Blackpool’s famous piers – who have admitted health and safety offences linked to asbestos – must wait six months to find out their fate.

A court hearing was previously told how asbestos fibres from Blackpool’s South Pier were allowed to float along the Promenade, as the pier’s owners cut corners on cost to remove a circus style roof above the main landward arcade.

An asbestos-lined arcade was demolished while visitors were allowed to roam nearby.

A company licenced to remove the dangerous asbestos legally had given the company a £16,000 quote, but instead, its employees started the work. People were allowed into the arcade where the work was being done, and asbestos were found on equipment. Three employees had used a Hoover to try to clean asbestos from a carpet during the removal of the roof.

An official notice was served closing down areas of the pier when the illegal contamination was discovered in June 2018. A previous hearing was told when Health and Safety officers became involved, it took nine days to clean up outside the pier and 12 days to clean up inside the arcade.

The Blackpool Pier Company previously pleaded guilty to eight offences of failing to ensure the health and safety of their employees, failing to ensure the health and safety of the public, and allowing the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere.

The company, based on Church Street, Blackpool, also admitted three charges of conniving to commit offences, failing to provide a plan of work being done on the pier and failing to give guidance and instruction for the control of asbestos.

Company finance director Fiona Blaylock, 44, of Arthurs Lane, Hambleton, near Blackpool, admitted one offence of failing to ensure the health and safety of the firm’s employees. Fellow director Peter Sedgwick Jr, 39, of Crane Hall Farm, Out Rawcliffe, near Preston, pleaded guilty to the same offence.

Defence lawyer Peter Gilmore said their pleas were on the full facts of the prosecution’s case. They will now appear before Preston Crown Court on May 1.

Original Source of Article: Blackpool Gazette

Where can asbestos be found in an industrial setting?

In this article Abigail Morrison, Senior Associate Solicitor at JMW Solicitors, offers some advice on the most common places where asbestos can be located in an industrial building.

Asbestos was widely used in construction before it was banned from use in 1999 as a result of its impact on the wellbeing of people who were exposed to it for a prolonged period of time. However, any industrial and residential buildings that were constructed before 2000 could still contain asbestos, meaning there could still be serious health implications for individuals living and working in these places today.

The material can cause serious health problems for those who are exposed to it, but the difficulty lies in the fact that symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses often do not present themselves until years later, meaning very often people are unaware exactly what has caused their health to decline.

Asbestos illnesses – such as mesothelioma – can have a profound impact on individuals who have been exposed to the smallest levels of the material. This means that many employees – including construction workers, contractors and teachers – are at a much higher risk of contracting such illnesses.

The rules surrounding the removal of asbestos from an industrial setting are somewhat of a grey area, and as long as the substance is not disturbed, it is not illegal to leave it in situ. However, due to the high level of common building materials that contain asbestos, as well as the widespread nature of its use, it can also be difficult to identify in certain settings.

Different types of asbestos
There are three types of asbestos that can often be detected in industrial buildings:

Blue asbestos (crocidolite);
Brown asbestos (amosite);
White asbestos (chrysotile).

Although commercial properties in various industries differ in terms of their layout and setting, there is still a high chance that they could contain asbestos if they were constructed before 2000. Of course, the presence of asbestos-containing fibres will depend on the company that was responsible for the construction of the building. However, being vigilant is vital for the organisations that inhabit these buildings.

Where can asbestos be found?
Asbestos WallBelow, we outline the places where asbestos is most commonly detected in the workplace.

Loose-fill insulation

Thought to be the most dangerous asbestos-containing material because it is made from pure asbestos. This means if it is disturbed, large quantities of fibre can be released into the air.

Cement water tank

Water tanks were commonly constructed using a lightweight material produced from wood cellulose and impregnated with inert coal tar pitch. Very often, asbestos was added to strengthen the material.

Sprayed coatings

Coatings sprayed on to ceilings, beams, walls and columns are said to be among the most dangerous materials that contain asbestos in an industrial building. These materials can contain up to 85% of asbestos, which can break up very easily, making it more harmful. The smallest disturbance of sprayed coatings is likely to release large quantities of asbestos fibres into the air.

Ceiling tiles

Ceiling tiles made from asbestos insulating board (AIB) are particularly dangerous. Any work carried out on these can be administered by non-licensed workers. Short-duration tasks, which do not need to be performed by a trained asbestos expert, are classified as less than one hour for one individual in a seven-day period.

Lagging on pipes and boilers

Materials used to lag boilers and pipes are considered one of the most dangerous asbestos-containing products. Individuals who are exposed to this are at heightened risk when the lagging or insulation is disturbed.

Toilet seats and cisterns

Asbestos composites can be found in old toilet cisterns and seats, as well as window sills and bath panels.

AIB panels in fire doors

Short-duration work to remove AIB in the demolition of a building or a major refurbishment would need to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

AIB partition walls

AIB was previously used as a fireproofing material in partition walls, but was also used in:

Soffits;
Panels below windows;
Lift shaft linings;
Boiler surrounds.
Rope seals and gaskets

Rope seals and gaskets made from asbestos are usually located in gas or electric heating appliances.

Textiles

Old fire blankets and heat-resistant goods have historically been made out of asbestos textiles.

Vinyl floor tiles

Asbestos floor tiles have been historically popular and can be found in many old buildings. Old tiles containing asbestos can sometimes be located under carpets.

This HSE ‘Where can you find asbestos?’ guide, provides further insight.

Detecting asbestos outside of a building
In some cases, asbestos can be found on a building’s exterior in:

Roof panels;
Cement gutters and downpipes;
Cement flue;
Cement gutters.

If they are not detected, the impact that asbestos can have on the lives of those exposed to it can be devastating. It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure that their buildings are checked for asbestos.

Original Source of Article: SHP Online

Hull council pays out £3.5m in asbestos-related claims – and could soon have to pay more

Hull councillors had to start paying after the insurance provider went into liquidation.

City councillors have been warned they might have to stump up more cash to settle historic compensation claims over asbestos-related illnesses.

The authority has paid a total of £3.5m in two separate pay-outs since 2014 to meet liability requirements following a court judgement two years earlier.

Rather than payments to individuals, the pay-outs were in the form of levy charges imposed after the council’s main insurance provider Municipal Mutual Insurance (MMI) went into liquidation in 1993.

The levy charges are pooled into a national pot which is then used to settle asbestos-related compensation claims.

Legal wrangles over liability issues following the liquidation of MMI went on for nearly a decade.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled the insurer was liable to pay outstanding compensation to employees who had contracted mesothelioma, a fatal type of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos.

As a result, a so-called scheme of arrangement was triggered requiring councils such as Hull to pay levies into the national pot based on a percentage of the amount paid to creditors.

Hull paid just over £2.1m in early 2014 as a result of the ruling.

Then, following a further review of MMI’s financial position, the levy was increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.

Hull then provided another £1.4m to fund the additional levy.

Now, the city council’s chief finance officer David Bell has warned the authority might have to dip into its pockets once again.

In a new report, he said: “The scheme’s administrators have advised that it is possible that a further levy may be required to meet future cost but at the moment none is payable and, as such, further liabilities cannot be reliably quantified.”