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Substantial fines for disturbing asbestos in primary school

10 January 2019

Issues continue to emerge for the management of asbestos in schools, with the latest breach occurring at Oakwood Junior School in Derby.

The incident occurred during refurbishment work at the school, which saw two subcontractors remove suspended ceiling tiles, according to SHP magazine.

They were alerted to the presence of asbestos when a licensed removal company, which happened to be working on site, informed management personnel.

Prior to this, the subcontractors had not received information that asbestos could be present in the ceiling tiles being removed.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Ashe Construction had failed to carry out its responsibilities.

This included failure to plan, manage and monitor the work to prevent the removal of, or exposure to asbestos.

The HSE investigation also found that Cladcell, a contractor appointed by Ashe Construction, had additionally failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor work on site.

It had only provided a generic risk assessment and method statement to the subcontractor it appointed to carry out the work.

A fine of £100,000 was awarded against Ashe Construction of Hitchin, Herefordshire by Derby Crown Court, and the company was also ordered to pay costs of nearly £9,760, after it submitted a plea of guilty to breaching CDM regulations.

Cladcell of Nottingham also submitted a plea of guilty to the breach of CDM regulations and received a fine of £12,000 with costs of more than £47,000.

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