Recent prosecutions – school and contractor fined for asbestos exposure risks

In a recent ruling, a school and its maintenance contractor faced combined penalties of almost £15,000 for placing people in danger of asbestos exposure. While installing a new heating system at the school, the contractor disturbed ceiling tiles that contained asbestos, potentially exposing several people to toxic fibres and risking their long-term health.

An HSE investigation found that the contractor and the school had failed to consult existing asbestos registers and management plans that would have identified the presence of asbestos. Both parties pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The contractor was fined £2,000 with £4,710.37 costs, and the school received a penalty of £3,000 with £4785.37 costs.

The HSE inspector commented, ‘Those undertaking work which is likely to disturb asbestos, or asbestos-containing materials, should ensure that building occupants and operatives are not exposed to asbestos. Those undertaking the work should also provide suitable information, instruction and training to their employees.

‘Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’

Prevent asbestos exposure at your builders merchant

If you have contractors doing intrusive work at your branch – such as laying pipes in a building or doing electrical work that involves chasing out walls – ensure you’ve shown them your asbestos survey and management plan. A competent team will be trained in asbestos awareness and understand how to prevent exposure risks.

If your branch was built before 1999, you should have an asbestos survey and management plan in place. If you haven't, Opus can help with a comprehensive range of asbestos services, including:

  • Management surveys and sampling
  • Site plans and asbestos registers
  • Tailored management plans

Clean-up bills for damaged asbestos can be substantial, so if you’re planning branch refurbishments, talk to us first. Our experts will answer questions and provide practical advice that could save you thousands. Get in touch on or phone 0330 043 4015.

Prefer to schedule a call? Put some time in the diary here.