Sector - Health & Safety

NHS Trust fined after construction workers are exposed to asbestos

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been fined £16,000 after refurbishment on Royal Shrewsbury Hospital exposed workers to asbestos.

Refurbishment work on an accommodation block of the hospital exposed contractors and employees to asbestos, according to Telford Magistrates Court. The court found that the trust failed to take proper action after Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) were disturbed, which exposed other contractors.

The work took place in June of 2012 when contractors were removing fittings from an empty flat. The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust failed to record the ACMs on site and did not communicate a clear and concise management plan for dealing with asbestos.

HSE inspector David Kilvin said: “The Trust should have controlled this potentially lethal risk by identifying the type, location and condition of any asbestos-containing-materials within the accommodation block at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, by implementing suitable precautions to prevent its disturbance.”

“Although there is no indication that members of the public at the hospital were exposed as a result of the failings, asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”

“This prosecution should act as a reminder, not just to Hospitals but to anyone in control of the repair and maintenance of non-domestic premises, of the need to ensure that correct control measures are put in place to ensure that exposure to asbestos is prevented, so far as is reasonably practicable.”

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust of Mytton Oak Rd, Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.80. The court found that the trust failed to prevent re-entry into the construction site and had inadequate procedures to deal with the contamination.

If you would like to read more articles like this then please click here.