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  Mesothelioma UK Patient/Carer Day 2013
Date: 5 Oct 2013

The 8th Mesothelioma UK Patient/Carer Day will be held on saturday 5th October 2013 at the Mercure Hotel, Leicester. Patients, Relatives and Friends can attend free of charge.



Developer prosecuted for asbestos failings

Date: 10 July 2013

Release No: HSE/M/184/2013


A Nottinghamshire property developer who pleaded guilty to exposing employees to asbestos has been given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and been ordered to pay fines and costs of £100,000.


Nottingham Crown Court was told today that James Roger Carlton, also known as Roger Stephen Parry, 64, of South Leverton, near Retford, disregarded the presence of asbestos insulation board at the site of the former King Edward VI School on London Road, Retford.


He knew the potentially dangerous material formed part of the pre-fabricated buildings on the site, but ignored advice on its safe removal.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the school, which was being converted into a retirement complex, on 1 March 2012 during a construction safety initiative. An inspector identified the type of building which is known to contain asbestos, and gave Mr Carlton advice on what he needed to do to comply with the relevant legislation surrounding its removal.


Eight days later, on 9 March, a complaint was received by HSE from a member of the public advising that the asbestos was not being removed properly. Mr Carlton, trading as Heathcliff Developments, was told to have surveys carried out and to arrange for the licensed removal of the material.

However, when inspectors re-visited the site on 17 May they found building rubble containing asbestos that had not been properly disposed off in this way. A Prohibition Notice was immediately served to stop all work with, or liable to disturb, the material asbestos and a direction to 'Leave Undisturbed' was imposed on the piles of contaminated rubble.


HSE inspectors made a third unannounced visit on 13 October and found workers in breach of the Prohibition Notice.


They found two workers putting asbestos insulation board into a lockable skip and 'dry sweeping' the dust, which resulted in large clouds of contaminated dust billowing across the site.

Work was again stopped until arrangements were made for safe and proper removal of asbestos materials.

The court heard that although employees had been wearing disposable overalls and face masks, no other controls were in place so not enough was done to protect them from the risk of exposure.

Dust would have contaminated their clothes and there was no water on site to enable decontamination.

The asbestos containing material should have been dampened down and double-bagged in special bags, before being removed by a licensed contractor. High efficiency vacuum cleaners should then have been used to remove smaller pieces of asbestos and dust rather than a broom.


James Roger Carlton, also known as Roger Stephen Parry, of Meeting House Lane, South Leverton, pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and 10 breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 - 12 charges in total - at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced today (July 10) to eight months is prison, suspended for two years, for the breach of the Prohibition notice. He was also fined £55,000 and ordered to pay a further £45,000 in costs.


Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: "Mr Carlton showed a willful disregard for the health and safety of his employees and others. Our investigation uncovered a catalogue of serious errors, safety failings and a general ignorance of the laws around the safe and correct removal of asbestos.


"This was an appalling case of failing to properly plan, manage and resource this project which led to workers being exposed to risks to their health from asbestos.

"Workers who have been exposed to asbestos could have posed a health risk to others in the long term, even their families and loved ones, by taking home their contaminated clothing.


"Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Building owners and contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure. Mr Carlton failed in that duty by choosing to ignore the dangers of this hidden killer."

Birmingham builders fined for illegal asbestos removal

Date:4 July 2013

Release No: WM175/13


Two self-employed builders from Birmingham have been sentenced for exposing householders, as well as themselves, to asbestos.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Harnek Ram of Handsworth and Gulzar Singh of Smethwick, trading as G Builders, after they illegally removed and broke up asbestos panels from a home in Handsworth between 19 and 25 May 2012.


Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard today (4 July) that the householder, who does not wish to be named, received a grant from Birmingham City Council to convert his garage into a bedroom and bathroom for his disabled father.


As part of the grant process, samples were taken on behalf of the City Council to test for asbestos and the results revealed asbestos was present. However, HSE's investigation concluded that by the time the test results were known, Mr Ram and Mr Singh had already broken up the asbestos insulating boards (AIBs) with a hammer and removed them.


HSE told the court that neither Mr Ram nor Mr Singh held the necessary licence to remove the asbestos boards. Nor did they carry out, or ask to see, an asbestos survey, which is required by law before any demolition or refurbishment work is undertaken. In failing to take adequate steps to prevent both the exposure to and spread of asbestos fibres generated by their work, they put the householders, themselves and others at risk of inhaling the potentially harmful airborne fibres. The subsequent clean-up of the site cost the City Council more than £6,500.

Mr Harnek Ram of Mary Road, Handsworth, and Mr Gulzar Singh, of Brian Road, Smethwick, both pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.


Mr Harnek Ram was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200. Mr Gulzar Singh was also fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.


Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Gareth Langston said:

"Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma, which is always fatal, and other life-threatening conditions. More than 4,000 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases."

"An estimated 70% of properties contain asbestos. It is illegal to undertake any work which will disturb the fabric of the building without carrying out and obtaining the results of an asbestos survey.


"The type of work being undertaken in Handsworth should have been carried out by a builder who holds the necessary licence, in a safe manner and with the necessary control measures. Instead, Mr Ram and Mr Singh exposed the householders and others - including themselves - to potentially harmful airborne asbestos fibres. They also demonstrated a complete disregard for the law."



Views sought on consolidated asbestos code of practice

Date: 9 July 2013

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a consultation on changes to the content of an Asbestos-related Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) that will consolidate two existing documents.


Following an initial consultation in June 2012, it was agreed by the HSE Board that a number of ACOPs would be revised, consolidated or withdrawn in line with the recommendation by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt in his report 'Reclaiming health and safety for all'.


For the ACOPs dealing with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012), L127 (The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises) and L143 (Work with materials containing asbestos), the proposal to consolidate the two ACOPs into a single revised ACOP (L143) was approved.


The draft ACOP provides practical guidance on how dutyholders can comply with the requirements of CAR 2012, meet their legal obligations and so reduce the risks of over compliance. Legal responsibilities to protect workers' health and safety are not altered by any changes to ACOPs.


The consolidated draft is now subject to a 12-week consultation ending on 30 September 2013. Dependent on the outcome of the consultation and ministerial approval, the ACOP will be published by the end of the year.

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment work

Date: 3 July 2013

The owner of a cladding installation business has been fined after he exposed workers to a potentially fatal risk from airborne asbestos fibres at a house in Bedfordshire.


Michael Southern, owner of PMF Cladding, instructed an employee and a casual labourer to remove and replace soffit boards during refurbishment work at a property in Sharnbrook in August 2011.


However, Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard today (3 July) that Mr Southern had not carried out a suitable survey in advance to determine whether asbestos was present and did not hold a licence to undertake work with the dangerous material. A neighbour informed Mr Southern that the soffits were made of asbestos insulating board but that did not stop him allowing work to carry on.


After a complaint was made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an inspector visited the site and immediately halted further work.


HSE’s investigation found that Mr Southern was aware from some of his previous jobs that soffit boards may contain asbestos but had not taken this into account when assessing this job. He had also failed to provide information and training to workers who could be exposed to asbestos fibres.


Michael William Southern, 48, of Brington Road, Old Weston, Huntingdon, trading as PMF Cladding, Cambridge Road Industrial Estate, Bedford, was fined £7,015 and ordered to pay £3,200 in costs after pleading guilty to four breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 on 30 August 2011.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Gavin Bull, said:


"Mr Southern, as a person running a cladding installation business, should have been in no doubt about the dangers posed by asbestos and of the regulations governing work with this material. Despite this, he progressed this work without testing the material to be removed for the presence of asbestos. This resulted in those working there being exposed to risk of inhaling airborne asbestos fibres without taking any suitable precautions.

"This incident was entirely preventable and highlights the importance of having a robust asbestos management system in place. "Dutyholders should identify the type, location and condition of all asbestos-containing materials, and establish appropriate precautions, before starting removal operations. This is all the more important for this type of higher-risk notifiable work, which should only have been performed by a licensed contractor."


Health board fined for asbestos failings


Date: 20 June 2013

Release No: SCO/015/13

A Scottish health board has been fined for safety failings that led to several workers and contractors being potentially exposed to deadly asbestos fibres.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard today (20 June) that Greater Glasgow Health Board, known as Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS, had failed to properly manage the risks of asbestos in a basement plant room of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill Hospital) in Glasgow.

The court heard that a survey in February 2009 had identified the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in various locations within the plant room and noted that they were in good condition and presented a low risk. The survey recommended the ACMs should be labelled and their condition monitored so any future deterioration could be managed.

In January 2011 a survey of the plant room was carried out prior to the installation of a new MRI scanner at the hospital. This found that some of the ACMs were in a poor condition and now posed a high risk. It recommended removal and environmental cleaning of the area.

Air and swab samples for asbestos fibres came back positive, the plant room was then sealed off and the matter reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

An investigation by the HSE found that the health board had taken no action since the 2009 survey to monitor the ACMs within the plant room. No labelling of the ACMS had taken place and nothing had been done over the following two years to maintain the materials in good condition.

The 2011 survey showed their condition had deteriorated, from good and low risk to poor and high risk, but it was not known precisely how or when the ACMs had been damaged.

The court also heard that employees of the health board and outside contractors regularly had to access the plant room and could have potentially been exposed to the harmful asbestos fibres in the plant room when carrying out maintenance work.

Greater Glasgow Health Board, of JB Russell House, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Glasgow was fined £6,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(10) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Eve Macready, 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.

"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 have potentially been exposed to harmful fibres."

Nottinghamshire plumber fined after putting family at risk

Date: 13 May 2013

Release No: HSE/M/118/13

A Nottinghamshire plumber has been fined after putting, his son and a young family at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Dean Fisk had been employed to replace a galvanized water tank in the loft of a house in Gardendale Avenue, Clifton.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today (13 May) told Nottingham magistrates that Mr Fisk had failed to carry out an assessment to see if asbestos was present and in what form and condition.

As a result, while replacing the tank on 18 January 2012, Mr Fisk’s son, Jack, also a plumber, removed an asbestos box from around it, breaking some of the panels. HSE found he had not had any asbestos awareness training.

The loft became contaminated with potentially deadly fibres and licensed contractors had to be brought in to remove all traces of the asbestos at a cost to the home owner of £2,870. The home owner – a mother with a young son – lost a number of personal belongings including family photographs and items that had belonged to her late grandmother.

Dean Fisk, 53, of Flawforth Avenue, Ruddington, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 10(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £2,870 to the home owner.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:

"Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, accounting for around 4500 fatalities a year. Tradespeople working in premises likely to contain asbestos have a duty to ensure they protect themselves and members of the public from risk of exposure to this hidden killer.

"This family home would not have been contaminated if the asbestos had been identified by Dean Fisk before the work was started. Work could then have been undertaken without disturbing the asbestos or have been carried out by a suitably trained person."