Workers Exposed to Deadly Fibers at Mill
Two British companies have been prosecuted after workers were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibers at a mill in Bolton.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against Hazelwise Ltd and RH Property Management Ltd after finding dozens of damaged asbestos boards stacked up at Brownlow Mill during a visit in October of 2010.
No Plan to Manage Asbestos
Manchester Crown Court heard that neither company had put a plan in place to manage the asbestos in the mill on Tennyson Street, where several small businesses rent units.
HSE became aware of the issue when a contractor on the site raised concerns that asbestos insulation boards had been stripped out of unoccupied floors at the mill, releasing potentially deadly asbestos fibers into the air.
Two Prohibition Notices
Inspectors issued two Prohibition Notices banning the removal of tools and other items from four floors of the mill in case they had become contaminated with asbestos fibers, and preventing access to the floors.
They also found that asbestos was present in other parts of the mill, occupied by tenants, but nothing had been done to protect it and make sure it was safe.
The court was told the letting agent, RH Property Management Ltd, had raised the issue of the lack of an asbestos assessment in 2006 but did not take any further action. The owner of the mill, Hazelwise Ltd, also failed to arrange for an asbestos survey to be carried out.
Both Companies Pleaded Guilty
Both companies pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to ensure the health and safety of people at the mill. Hazelwise also admitted a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 by failing to properly assess the risks from asbestos at the site.
Hazelwise Ltd, of Mauldeth Avenue in Chorlton, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £8,969 in prosecution costs. RH Property Management Ltd, of Greek Street in Stockport, was fined £15,000 and with costs of £11,011.
4,000 People Die Every Year From Asbestos
Around 4,000 people reportedly die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibers, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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