A security firm, a company director and an NHS Trust have been fined after potentially dangerous asbestos fibres were released in a county hospital.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today prosecuted Northamptonshire NHS Teaching Primary Care Trust, NUTEC Security Systems Ltd, company director Paul Beeby and at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court following the incident at Isebrook Hospital, Wellingborough, in 2008.
The court heard that the Trust employed NUTEC to upgrade security at Isebrook Hospital between 21 April and 9 June 2008.
During the work, engineers ran cables through false ceilings and partition walls in public areas of the hospital. The work resulted in asbestos fibres being released into the hospital, which had remained open to the public and staff alike.
HSE’s investigation found that the Trust did not ensure that the contractor had received information on asbestos in the building or planned the project management of the work correctly.
The investigation also found that NUTEC had assumed areas of the hospital did not contain asbestos and that Mr Beeby had not ensured his surveys were sufficient to identify the presence of asbestos.
The court was told that as a director of the company and the person undertaking the surveys, Mr Beeby should have ensured he had accessed all areas where his employees were going to be working and as such had not informed engineers adequately of the potential risks they faced.
HSE Inspector Karl Raw said: “The lack of planning meant that there was potential for workers and members of the public to be exposed to asbestos. There’s no way of knowing the extent of the exposure as work in some areas had been completed and cleaned before the potential exposures were uncovered.
“Asbestos can be very dangerous and regulations are there to minimise risk. Had this job been properly planned then any disturbance of asbestos could have been avoided.”
Northamptonshire NHS Teaching Primary Care Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,755.
NUTEC Security Systems Ltd, of Quarry Park Close, Northampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5(a), 10 (1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The company was fined a total of £ 4,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,755.
Paul Beeby, of The Avenue, Flore, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. He was fined £1,200 and also ordered to pay £ 1,755 costs.
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