Wednesday 12th of March 2014 09:41
A Suffolk window replacement company has been fined after it exposed workers to potentially fatal asbestos material during work to replace window units at a school in Bury St Edmunds.
Frames Conservatories Direct Ltd (FCDL) informed Westley Middle school that asbestos panels would be removed by registered contractors and disposed of in the correct manner over the school summer holidays in 2012.
However, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court was told the company was not licensed to work with asbestos. Furthermore, employees undertaking the work were not told they would be handling asbestos, nor did they use any control measures to prevent the spread of fibres.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated after being alerted both by FCDL employees and the school's headteacher.
The court heard that concerns were first raised when other contractors noticed suspect material in a floor void and consulted a licensed asbestos contractor who then visited the school. The contractor saw window panels being removed and notified FCDL employees that they were handling materials likely to contain asbestos. Work was immediately stopped and the area sealed off.
A licensed contractor undertook an extensive programme of cleaning under strictly controlled conditions in all affected areas of the school. Once completed, air tests were carried out and the areas certified safe for re-occupation.
The school spent some £111,495 on environmental cleaning and replacement of teaching aids and other items that had to be destroyed because of contamination.
Frames Conservatories Direct Ltd, of Barton Retail Park, Barton Road, Bury St Edmunds, was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £10,571 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
This news item has been copied from the HSE notice