Council Workers Exposed to Asbestos
Birmingham City Council and a Solihull refurbishment company have been sentenced for exposing three men to asbestos during work on a school.
Solihull Supplies Ltd, of Lodge Road, Knowle, was contracted by the council to refurbish the reception area at William Cowper Community Primary School, Newtown, Birmingham.
Solihull Supplies then sub-contracted another firm to remove ceiling tiles at the school without carrying out a proper risk assessment.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that on 24 July 2009 two workers from the firm, which cannot be named as legal proceedings are still ongoing, were tasked with stripping out tiles from seven rooms being refurbished.
It was two workmen from the subcontracted firm, and the school’s caretaker, who came into contact with brown asbestos for several hours as they removed roof tiles during the renovation in July 2009.
The HSE mounted an investigation after the council reported findings of asbestos.
Jo Anderson, HSE principal inspector, said: “Because of the failing of the council and the firm, three people now have to live with the knowledge they may become ill from lung disease in the future.
“The long term health risks associated with exposure to asbestos dust are well known and it is simply unacceptable for incidents such as this to still be taking place.
“This incident could have been avoided if those involved had assessed the situation properly and taken the necessary precautions.”
The council pleaded guilty to contravening Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at an earlier hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
It was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,091 costs yesterday.