Staffordshire County Council is facing a large fine after admitting liability after dangerous asbestos fibres were released into a primary school in 2009.
It is believed asbestos board, used as thermal insulation in construction between the 1950s and 1970s, was disturbed during months of ongoing building works at the Glenthorne Primary School in the Cheslyn. The staff and 178 pupils at the school were sent home as a result of the health scare on February 13, 2009 and the school remained closed until June, costing taxpayers an estimated £246,000. Parents were assured at the time that there was only limited risk to the children’s health.
Lawyers for the local authority yesterday entered a guilty plea in response to health and safety charges brought over the asbestos exposure. They admitted failing to ensure persons not in its employment were not exposed to risks. Sub-contractor Mr Ian Turner was listed as one of the people put at risk.
Stafford Crown Court heard that Rugeley building firm G Evans (Services) Ltd admitted a similar charge and another of failing to ensure the safety of employee Mr Lawrence Hollins. Judge Mark Eades adjourned the case for the council and the company to be sentenced on a date to be fixed. Staffordshire County Council spokeswoman Gemma Styles said: “The guilty plea reflects an oversight in an otherwise effective management system. The council can make no further comment.”
Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012 states that each non-domestic premises, and communal areas of residential buildings, must have a Duty Holder whom is appointed to ensure that any asbestos is managed and thus the risks of asbestos fibre release is limited. The main responsibility is to ensure that asbestos containing materials are identified and managed in a way set out be various asbestos regulations. This is done by the implementation of a Management Survey by an asbestos consultant.
Armco provides this service, as well as Refurbishment and Demolition surveys and other services such as single and bulk sample analysis, consultancy and advice and various asbestos related training. Call the office for further details on 0161 763 3727.
Published Sep 21, 2012