University fined over asbestos exposure
Posted by Jason Nicholls.
The importance of warning signs has been highlighted after employees of a security firm were exposed to asbestos while working at a Birmingham university.
Two workers were fitting a CCTV system at Aston University in July last year when they drilled into material that contained fibres of the potentially dangerous mineral.
Both the university and the contractor, Access Fire and Security Ltd, were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a result of the incident.
They were fined after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety legislation.
Aston University did not adhere to its own policy on the proper management and preparation of CCTV installation, with a lack of knowledge prevalent throughout the institution, the court heard. It was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.
Access Fire and Security was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.
"While the amount of asbestos involved in this incident was small, two people now have to live with the knowledge that they may become ill from lung disease in the future," Karl Raw, the investigating inspector at HSE, said.
According to the regulator, asbestos is the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.
Recently, the manager of a firm in Tyneside was fined after failing to organise asbestos training for his employees, despite it being a legal requirement.
High View Services was fined £360.
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