Mansfield care home fined for asbestos management failings

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The operator of a Mansfield care home has been fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs after its failure to have an asbestos survey carried out resulted in workers potentially being exposed to asbestos fibres.

At a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court, Debdale Specialist Care Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of sections 2(1) and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 between September 2005 and April 2012 in relation to failings in its management of asbestos risks at the Thistle Hill Hall care home.

Mansfield District Council decided to prosecute after it emerged the company did not have a proper asbestos management plan in place to minimise the risk from asbestos-containing materials in the loft of the care home.

As a proper asbestos survey had not been carried out, the operators were not fully aware of the risks and, over a period of years, three maintenance staff had been allowed to access the loft area to carry out work.

After council officers served a prohibition notice preventing anyone other than asbestos experts entering the loft in May 2012, a full survey of the care home was finally undertaken. It revealed there were a number of asbestos-containing materials in the loft area and recommended that they be removed, as they posed a higher risk.

The asbestos removal work was carried out before the trial began, but although His Honour Judge Sampson gave Debdale Specialist Care Ltd credit for taking remedial action, he still imposed a fine.

Bev Smith, Mansfield District Council’s corporate director of regeneration and regulation, said: "The Council takes very seriously the health and safety of people at work. We will ensure employers meet their statutory responsibilities under current legislation and as this case demonstrates, will take appropriate action when this is not the case."

To find out more about asbestos surveys or to arrange for a quote, get in touch with BLS Asbestos.

Published: 17th February 2014