Building firm is fined for asbestos failings in Witham

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court.

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Lucy taylor

A building firm has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos fibres during construction in Witham.

A building firm has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos fibres during construction in Witham.

Marden Homes Ltd was converting an office block in the town into flats during July 2012, including removing a disused boiler room and pipes.

During the refurbishment work employees disturbed pipe lagging which contained asbestos fibres, potentially exposing both themselves and other workers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), prosecuted the firm at Chelmsford Magistrates Court after finding the company had not arranged for an asbestos survey to be available to workers on site.


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Staff therefore could not identify asbestos, while one had received no training in that area.

Marden Homes, based in Westcliff, Essex, was fined £50,000 with costs of £1,413 after pleading guilty to three breaches of Control of Asbestos Regulations.

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HSE inspector David King, speaking after the hearing, said: “Exposure to asbestos fibres is a serious and well-known health risk, so it is essential duty-holders take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent the disturbance, spread and exposure to asbestos.

“Guidance on managing the risks is widely and freely available, therefore failing to take action is absolutely inexcusable.”

Around 4,500 people die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

Airborne fibres can become lodged in the lungs and digestive tract and lead to lung cancer or other diseases, but symptoms may not appear for several decades.

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