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Glasgow health board fined after ignoring asbestos removal advice

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Greater Glasgow Health Board has been fined £10,000 after failing to remove asbestos from a ceiling, despite three separate asbestos survey reports advising it to do so.

The board pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(10)(b) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 after several workers were exposed to asbestos fibres in a plant and switch room at Southern General Hospital over a seven-year period.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that three asbestos management surveys dating back as far as 2004 had identified high-risk asbestos containing materials in the ceiling of the room and recommended they be removed and the room subjected to environmental cleaning.

A further survey was carried out in March 2011 and it found some of the asbestos containing materials were badly damaged and also discovered unsealed high-risk asbestos debris, while further tests uncovered a high level of air contamination.

The Health and Safety Executive subsequently launched an investigation and concluded that the contamination was a result of the health board’s failure to remove the asbestos containing materials and that employees and outside contractors had been exposed to harmful asbestos fibres as a result of inadequate monitoring of the situation.

Greater Glasgow Health Board has since removed the materials and had the room environmentally cleaned, and has also updated the asbestos management policy for its hospitals.

Speaking after the court hearing on December 20th 2013, HSE inspector Aileen Jardine said: “The dangers posed by the presence of asbestos are clear. There is no known ‘safe limit’ and it is often many years after exposure before asbestos-related diseases appear – so it is important that exposure to asbestos fibres is kept to an absolute minimum.

“Greater Glasgow Health Board failed in its duty to properly manage the risks of asbestos in its premises and as a result a number of employees and external contractors over a period of several years were exposed to harmful fibres.”

To find out more about asbestos surveys and safe asbestos removal, please get in touch with BLS Asbestos.

Published: 6th January 2014