Worker exposed to dangerously high levels of asbestos
A company in Bath has been fined after a builder was exposed to high levels of a type of asbestos linked to malignant and incurable cancer.
Jonathan Arnold, 49, of Castle Cary was fitting pipework for a new central heating system at Oxford House, in Combe Down, Bath when he was exposed to high levels of blue asbestos (crocidolite).
In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against the building’s owners, Formac Electronics Ltd, Bath Magistrates’ Court heard the airborne substance was disturbed and spread within the building during refurbishment.
The court was told that, for a five-hour period on 4 August, Mr Arnold was estimated to have been exposed to a high concentration of airborne asbestos fibres many times over the control limit.
HSE investigated the incident and found Formac Electronics Ltd had failed to carry out a refurbishment and demolition survey, to establish the presence and condition of asbestos in the building.
It also failed to provide suitable information to contractors prior to the start of the refurbishment works which resulted in uncontrolled disturbance of the loose fill blue asbestos located within the fabric of the building.
When an HSE Specialist Inspector visited Oxford House under controlled conditions, loose fill blue asbestos insulation material could be clearly seen in the area where Mr Arnold had spent a long time on his hands and knees fitting pipework on the 3 and 4 August 2010.
Asbestos exposure is linked to a range of serious diseases including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, a malignant, incurable cancer. Of the three main asbestos types, crocidolite is associated with the highest risk of developing mesothelioma.
If you previously worked in an environment where you may have been exposed to asbestos and are currently afflicted with a related condition, get in contact with us to see if you can make an asbestosis compensation claim.