The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NSH Trust have been prosecuted by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) for failing to manage asbestos present in their building.
The NHS Trust was fined £10,000 after it was found that workers may have been exposed to deadly fibres in the basement area of the office building at Derwent House on London Rd, Liverpool in January 2013.
The organisation first learned of asbestos being present in the building in 2006 but failed to act upon that survey, the survey identified an area of the basement that may have contained asbestos and recommended it was properly assessed to ensure it was in a good condition.
The risk then became apparent again in January 2013 when the Safety manager for the NHS Trust noticed damage to the doors to the out-of-use goods lift in the basement. The doors were found to contain asbestos meaning the there was risk of asbestos exposure to those working in the basement.
Workers were said to have made regular visits to the basement to access patient records, risking exposure to the asbestos. The HSE inspector said that it is vital for organisations to take the risks from asbestos seriously, in line with the 2006 survey they should have assumed asbestos was present in the basement and taken appropriate action to make it safe for people working there. Instead people were allowed to visit the basement increasing the risk of exposure to potentially deadly fibres.
The organisation has stated that they believe the risk to employees was extremely low and only a small number of people could possibly have been affected. Additionally the building in question was not used for clinical services and stressed that there was no risk what so ever to patients.
4000 people die each year from asbestos exposure and the related disease such as Mesothelioma, which is the biggest single cause of work related death in the UK. It is a legal requirement for all duty holders to manage asbestos in their premises where there are employees to avoid the potential risks, they should do this by completing an asbestos management survey.
The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NSH Trust of Prescot St in Liverpool received the £10,000 fine and were ordered to pay £696 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to 2 breaches of the Health and Safety at work act 1974 on February 26th 2015.
The organisation fully accepts the outcome of the hearing, and has cooperated with the HSE, immediate action has been undertaken to prevent any further risks. Following the identification, asbestos was removed by licensed contractors and the NHS Trust now ensure that full asbestos surveys are carried out on a regular basis.
Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/. Alternatively call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for enquires or to book your training course.
Published Mar 02, 2015