A South Leverton property developer was ordered to pay £100,000 in penalties and costs, in addition to 8 months’ suspended prison sentence, for allegedly exposing employees to hazardous asbestos fibers.
The arguments were heard in Nottingham Crown Court. Government prosecutors argued that Roger Carlton neglected the presence of insulation board containing asbestos at the work site of former King Edward VI School on London Rd in Retford.
The 64-year-old developer was aware of the presence of the potential hazard on the worksite, but neglected the suggestions regarding its safe and proper removal, court documents indicate.
The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) visited the school building that was being converted into a housing complex on 1st March 2012. The inspector recognized the sort of building that’s known to have asbestos. Carlton was advised on that. The inspector told him what he has to do for complying with the rules and regulations and to ensure the safety of the public and workers. He was advised regarding how to remove the materials safely.
After a week, the HSE got a complaint from a citizen, which stated that asbestos material was not being cleaned up legally and properly. The HSE asked him to conduct asbestos surveys and remove the material by using the service of licensed professionals. The inspectors visited the work site again after a few days. They discovered asbestos-containing rubble on the site, which hadn’t been disposed of adequately as advised by the agency. The agency immediately served a prohibition notice and stopped all the works. The agency officials made their 3rd visit on the site and discovered the workers in breach of the prohibition notice issued by them. The workers were putting insulation board containing asbestos into garbage, causing huge clouds of toxic dust swirling across the worksite.
Asbestos is a very dangerous mineral which can cause deadly diseases if its microscopic fibers are breathed in. Asbestos releases its fibers into the air if it is disturbed, deteriorated, damaged or broken. So, if asbestos is not handled properly, its toxic fibers become airborne. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is linked to deadly diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. Because of their long latency period, asbestos-related diseases are extremely hard to be diagnosed. The diseases generally start showing their symptoms 30 or 40 years after the exposure. However, once detected, they kill victims within 18-24 months.