A Cheshire company has been fined £22,400 after exposing pupils, teachers and workers to deadly asbestos material whilst conducting repairs at the Newmarket College School, Suffolk. Labform, the specialist laboratory design company, were found to have violated health regulations after failing to arrange a detailed Demolition Asbestos Survey following the discovery of asbestos corrupted material on site. The company were also ordered to pay a further £11,741 in costs.
The discovery of asbestos at the school serves as a strong reminded that the threat is still ongoing, and not merely limited to industrial disease claims as is often thought. Although those who work in the construction industry are considered most at risk, a very real threat is still posed to those who occupy old buildings, such as the teachers and pupils at Newmarket College.
The inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause irreversible damage, claiming hundreds of lives each year. In 2013 alone there were over 1000 newly assessed cases of asbestosis and asbestos related diseases. The heavy use of asbestos in the early 1970’s and 80’s has left the UK with a fatal legacy, with a sharp increase in the number of diagnoses of asbestos related disease expected over the next few years.
Duty-holders in older buildings are expected to take suitable measures to ensure that those who frequent the environment are not exposed to asbestos. Where the substance is discovered or disturbed, contractors are bound by a legal duty to comply with the stringent guidelines regarding the prevention of spread and exposure to asbestos. The protection of public health and welfare is the first and foremost priority in these cases and those firms neglecting to take the required action leave themselves open not only to investigation and potential fines from the governing authorities, but also civil action from employees or individuals who have suffered as a result.
Due to the nature of asbestos related illnesses there may be a twenty or even thirty year delay before the victim exhibits obvious symptoms. Those who show signs of suffering from the industrial illness are encouraged to see their GP at the earliest opportunity in order to obtain a full diagnosis. The impact of asbestosis can be devastating; therefore it is paramount that sufferers consult a solicitor specialising in asbestosis claims in order to assess the options available to them.
Here at Farleys Solicitors our specialist industrial disease claims team have a wealth of expertise acting on behalf of those who have been affected by asbestos related illnesses. For a free assessment of your case contact us today on 0845 050 1958, or please complete an online enquiry form.