Customers at a hotel in Folkestone (England) could have inhaled asbestos fibers and dust at the time of renovation work, according to a recent report.
It took place during the transformation of the Pavilion wing of Britannia Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone Harbour between Feb 2010 and July 2010.
While the renovation work on the wing was being performed, Britannia Grand’ restaurant was open – even though its bosses were aware of the fact that potentially deadly asbestos material was present in the work site.
The hotel was issued a fine of £160,000 after it admitted guilty to the charges of violating safety regulations intended to reduce the risk of public being exposed to toxic dust and fibres of asbestos. In the United Kingdom, Britannia owns 35 hotels.
A Canterbury Crown Court Judge criticized the hotel for breaking the authorized procedure of hiring licensed firms for removing the cancer-causing material. Instead, the hotel used its own in-house employees who were not at all experienced in the job. None of those staff members had been given any specialist training either for recognizing the threat.
Judge Hon. Simon James presided over the case. He was told that prior to the beginning of the work, the hotel had asked a report which indicated the chance of presence of asbestos material in the building. However, Britannia Grand failed to order for a detailed probe into the hazards before asking the work to begin on the building. The hotel was planning to build 53 additional bed rooms.
It was just a few weeks later that the dangerous material was found and specialists were brought in for dealing with the risk. But, by then, diners and workers had been exposed to and possibly inhaled dangerous particles of asbestos.
Mark Balysz, with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), informed the court that the prosecution was after a probe and potential asbestos exposure to the hotel customers and staff.
“All through the construction job, the restaurant that situates on the ground floor was opened and this means the lobby was shared by the construction workers and guests,” Balysz said.
Balysz said that asbestos-linked diseases topped in year 2010 – with 2300 cases. “And most of them were fatal,” Balsyz said.
“Inhaling asbestos dust and fibres can cause severe damage to the human lungs and it could cause cancer as well. Asbestos-related cancer has no cure,” he said.