HBE AsbestosA UK laboratory testing firm has been prosecuted for putting workers at its premises at risk of exposure to asbestos.

An investigation was launched following a complaint that the company had not dealt with damaged asbestos at its site despite being recommended to do so on two previous occasions.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard the company’s own accredited asbestos testing branch carried out a survey of the premises in 2008. Damaged asbestos was identified by this branch in two separate areas of the site and the survey stated the damaged asbestos should be removed, repaired or sealed off.

A further survey was completed in 2010 and again stated the previously identified damaged asbestos was still there and repeated its earlier recommendation.

The HSE visited the site in 2010 to find that the recommendations of the two earlier surveys had still not been implemented and employees were continuing to access and work in areas where damaged asbestos was present.

The firm was fined a total of £36,000 (£12,000 for each offence) and ordered to pay £8,000 costs after it pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Source: HSE