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Staffs County Council fined for nursery asbestos exposure

Staffordshire County Council and a refurbishment contractor have been fined for exposing a nursery school and two workers to asbestos fibres. school sign topasbestosremoval.com

Rugeley firm G Evans (Services) Ltd was refurbishing Glenthorne Community Primary School in Cheslyn Hay for the council when the incident happened on Friday 13 February 2009.

Stafford Crown Court heard that two joiners were cutting through a large built-in cupboard in the nursery class when they noticed unidentified material nailed to the back of it.

They showed this to their site manager, who allowed them to carry on dismantling the cupboard and to detach the material. However, the material was asbestos insulating board, which by law should only be moved by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. The court heard how the joiners used an ordinary vacuum cleaner to clear up dust and debris, which would also have spread asbestos fibres in the air.

On the Friday the work was undertaken, seventeen children aged between three and four, were in the classroom for half-day sessions together with a teacher and a teaching assistant. A school cleaner, who was working in the classroom later in the day, was also exposed to the potentially dangerous substance.

The following Monday, an analyst who was monitoring asbestos levels in the air during licensed asbestos removal work, spotted pieces of asbestos insulating board in an open skip. The school was closed immediately for investigation and subsequent decontamination.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Staffordshire County Council had failed to carry out a pre-refurbishment asbestos survey in the nursery before work started. These surveys were essential to ensure that anyone who was likely to work or disturb asbestos was provided with information on the location and condition of the asbestos.

G Evans (Services) Ltd had not taken sufficient steps to identify the asbestos insulating board attached to the cupboard before work started and its procedures for identifying asbestos containing materials were inadequate which permitted their site manager to assume the material was safe to work with and to continue disturbing it. The court heard the work should have been stopped until the material had been investigated further.

HSE inspector David Brassington said after the hearing: “A series of assumptions and missed opportunities led to contractors, school staff and nursery age children being exposed to asbestos fibres during refurbishment work.

“The joiners who were working directly with the asbestos were significantly exposed to the disturbed fibres– something that should not have happened with proper planning and access to an asbestos survey before work commenced.

“Fortunately, the risk to children and school staff who were in the classroom the same day as the asbestos was disturbed will have been lower because they spent less time in the nursery at the time when the asbestos was initially disturbed.

“This incident has understandably caused a great deal of anxiety. As soon as the suspect material was found the work should have been stopped for further investigation.

“The long term health risks associated with exposure to asbestos dust are well known and it is unacceptable for incidents such as this to be taking place.”

Staffordshire County Council, of Tipping Street, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was today (14 December) fined £10,000and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

December 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Asbestos Removal |
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Dale Farm declared a no go zone after deadly asbestos is uncovered

The former Dale Farm traveller site has been marked as a no go area after asbestos was found on some of the bulldozed plots.

It is not yet known whether asbestos was dug up during the eviction or if it was dumped by fly-tippers afterwards. Either way, officials from the Environment Agency are urging no one to venture onto the site while an investigation is carried out.

An agency spokeswoman said: “We advised residents to stay away from the cleared area of Dale Farm as a precaution. “

When consultants visited the site to take samples they identified bonded asbestos sheeting on some plots. “

Asbestos can have health implications if broken up so people were advised to avoid any actions that might break it up or disturb it.”

December 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Asbestos Infomation |
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Deadly asbestos panels were found dumped in a Blackpool alley

For the second time now, residents in South Shore have discovered industrial waste including asbestos sheeting dumped in the alley behind their homes by fly-tippers.

Parents were concerned that children could have come into contact with the fibres whilst playing in the alleyway.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for streets and transport for Blackpool Council, said: “All fly tipping is a crime, but this is exceptionally serious.

“It goes without saying how dangerous asbestos can be. We believe that this has been done by an organised group, and will use all methods at our disposal to catch the culprits and bring them to justice.”

December 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm | asbestos disposal, Asbestos Removal, Mesothelioma |
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Is asbestos not a problem of the past?

There are still serious cases of asbestos contamination that are found in public buildings today.

Just under a month ago pupils had to be moved out of a school in Wales after browns asbestos fibres were discovered in air within the school during a structural survey.

As a result the school was closed down permanently. All other schools in Wales were also ordered to undergo air testing on a routine basis.

This would indicate that asbestos is not just a problem of the industrial past and continuing awareness of its dangers still remains necessary.

November 10, 2012 at 9:00 am | Asbestos Infomation |
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Scouts group calls for Stoke-on-Trent council action after asbestos scare

Scout leaders are calling for Stoke-on-Trent City Council to finalise the lease on their building so they can take action to stop fly-tippers.

The 67th Burslem Scout Group needs a £15,000 grant to pay for a security fence around the building.

Group leader Colin Greatbatch said talks with the council have been going on for more than four years. Now, with fly-tippers striking again by dumping a pile of white asbestos just yards from the building entrance, action needs to be taken.

Mr Greatbatch says the health risk to children should mean the lease issue is sorted out as a matter of urgency.

He said: “The fly-tipping has been going on for years. It’s usually every couple of weeks.

“Luckily I arrived early and saw the asbestos before anyone else got here. Otherwise the scouts might have started playing on it, which is obviously very dangerous.”

October 26, 2012 at 11:32 am | Asbestos Removal |
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Colchester Zoo fined for asbestos disposal breach

Colchester Zoo has been fined £30,000 for a string of health and safety offences involving asbestos.

Charges against Colchester Zoo were brought by Colchester Borough Council following a routine health and safety check in June 2010.

The inspector performing the inspection found asbestos boards taken from a hay barn and dumped in a skip, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

The organistion admitted to 12 health and safety breaches including failing to adequately protect staff.

The zoo said: “Colchester Zoo deeply regrets that on this one occasion, as a result of an administrative oversight, proper procedures were not followed.”

October 22, 2012 at 8:30 am | asbestos disposal |
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Urgent asbestos removal in Chichester following fly tipping complaints

Residents across the Chichester area are being asked to report fly-tipping after asbestos was dumped at three different locations.

Following alledged reports by passers-by and residents of the area, officers from Arun District Council moved quickly to clear the rubbish from Church Lane in Pagham, Lake Lane in Barnham and Shripney Lane in Shripney. All three locations were alledged to have asbestos dumped on them by unlicensed asbestos removal traders.

The harmful substances that are said to have been dumped in the aforementioned areas all contained household rubbish i.e. old building units, sections of walls and other debris from a large kitchen demolition.

For more details on asbestos removal simply click here.

May 24, 2012 at 1:53 am | Asbestos Removal |
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Plans for asbestos disposal in Bristol is opposed by local MPs

The leader of the Bristol city council and two MPs have urged planners to listen to objections to the proposed asbestos disposal in Bristol.

Last July, an application to dispose of hazardous waste at Stowey Quarry was initially approved by Bath and North East Somerset Council. The decision was later quashed but an application has since been resubmitted by Oaktree Environmental.

Opponents fear asbestos may get into Chew Valley reservoir and the Environment Agency have said that they would be objecting to the plans.

April 30, 2012 at 1:21 am | asbestos disposal |
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Peterborough City Council approve asbestos disposal in local quarry

A waste disposal company has received unanimous approval from a planning committee to allow them to dump asbestos at a landfill site near the town of Peterborough.

A well-known Waste Services company had originally applied for asbestos disposal waste within four “non hazardous” cells at Eyebury Quarry and to increase the catchment area for it to accept more asbestos disposal.

Peterborough City Council’s planning committee permitted the application, which will see a maximum of 200,000 tonnes of the waste dumped at the site over the next 10 years.

April 27, 2012 at 6:35 am | asbestos disposal |
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Asbestos removal needed at Olympic basketball site

Environmental campaigners have told a High Court judge that an Olympic basketball training facility was being built on parkland that is filled with asbestos.

They said the facility in Waltham Forest, North London, was being put up in an area that was landfilled with asbestos and lead after the Second World War.

The campaigners also claimed that workers were disturbing “contaminated” earth in the process of building the facilities for the London Olympic Games

Demonstrators raised concerns as Mr Justice Arnold – who has said he has tickets for an Olympic basketball game – renewed an order “restraining” them from engaging in “unlawful activity” at the site.  Asbestos removal would be needed should the plans to build go ahead.

The demonstrators also said they were not opposed the Olympics, only to the development.

April 20, 2012 at 1:12 am | Asbestos Removal |
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