Thurrock Council has been fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay £15,326 in costs after admitting to failures in how it managed asbestos across its schools.
The Crown Court heard that no action was taken despite the fact that the Council was made aware of asbestos concerns in a boiler room at a Junior School. The Council hired a specialist contractor to carry out an asbestos survey in 2004, and the contractor revealed that dust and debris found in the boiler room contained asbestos and needed to be removed immediately under licensed conditions.
However, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection in April 2010, as part of HSE’s Asbestos initiative, found that no action had been taken to eradicate the asbestos problem.
The Court heard that during this six year period, school staff and contractors alike regularly entered the boiler room, and the HSE served a Prohibition Notice in April 2010 barring entry to the boiler house until it was made safe.
Thurrock Council was also served with two Improvement Notices regarding the management of asbestos in its schools elsewhere in the county.
After pleading guilty to a Regulation 10 breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2006) and a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – both in relation to failings across the school estate. The Council also admitted a Regulation 11 breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2006) in relation to the specific incident at Stifford Clays Junior School.