College fined for exposing individuals to asbestos

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Exposing individuals to asbestos debris like this has landed a college with a fine.
Asbestos debris

A university college has been fined for exposing individuals to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat.

Employees of Newnham College, Cambridge, and subcontractors were refurbishing the property on Grange Road in March 2018 when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in floor voids.

No asbestos refurbishment survey had been carried out before the debris was found, Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was told.

One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An HSE investigation found there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment when the debris was discovered.

Newnham College pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £12,000 with costs of £4,450.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals.

“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”

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