Lincoln University in Great Britain has been fined for putting staff, students and contractors at risk of exposure to asbestos.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the failings came to light in February of 2010 when a lecturer became trapped in a room after a door lock broke. She enlisted the help of a colleague to release her and once freed, they noticed debris around the door handle. (WCxKit)
They notified the university's health and safety department which examined the door and others in the area, and discovered most were lined with asbestos insulating board (AIB), and that some were damaged.
The university notified HSE, which carried out its own investigation. It was found that a number of areas across the university's estate had been subject to asbestos surveys over a number of years and many areas were found to contain asbestos-containing materials or even asbestos debris, yet no remedial action had been taken.
Lincoln University Higher Education Corporation, of Brayford Pool, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Lincoln Magistrates Court. The university was fined $15,629 and ordered to pay $19,939.77 costs.
After the hearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court, HSE inspector Edward Walker noted, "Exposure to asbestos fibers is a well-known health hazard that results in approximately 4,000 deaths a year. (WCxKit)
"The university had an asbestos management plan but had failed to follow it and failed to take appropriate steps to manage the risks associated with asbestos over a number of years, putting staff, students and contractors at risk of potential exposure."
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