Employees were exposed to potentially lethal asbestos material during a project to replace school window units, a court has heard.
Frames Conservatories Direct Ltd (FCDL), of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was fined £24,000 for safety failings.
It told Westley Middle school that asbestos panels would be taken out by registered contractors and disposed of in the right way during the school summer holidays in 2012.
But the window replacement firm was unlicensed to work with asbestos, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard.
Also, staff carrying out the work were not informed they would be handling asbestos, nor did they use any control measures to stop the dispersal of fibres.
FCDL staff and the school’s headteacher informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated.
School clean-up efforts cost £111K
Fears were first raised when other contractors saw suspect material in a floor void and consulted a licensed asbestos contractor who then visited the school, also in Bury St Edmunds.
The contractor spotted window panels being removed and notified FCDL staff that they were dealing with materials likely to contain asbestos.
Work was stopped instantly and the area sealed off.
The school paid around £111,495 on environmental cleaning and replacement of teaching aids and other items that had to be destroyed due to contamination.
Frames Conservatories Direct Ltd was also told to pay £10,571 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
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Date Published: February 18, 2014
Author: David Brown