College fined for asbestos failings

Newnham College has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the college.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that in March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them.

Newnham College of Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals.

“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Further information on asbestos can be found at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/