A Midlands building contractor has been fined after workers disturbed asbestos in a primary school while children were in a lesson next door.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Solihull-based Greswolde Construction after bosses failed to warn its employees that asbestos existed in the building, despite having a survey detailing where the substance was present.
The company pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 10(1) and one of 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. It was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,268 costs.
Stratford-upon-Avon Magistrates Court heard how on 9 July 2009 the firm was contracted to carry out building work on an extension at Rokeby Primary School in Rugby.
Three employees were carrying out the work when they disturbed an area containing asbestos. Despite the company being in possession of a Type 3 Asbestos Survey detailing the materials that were disturbed, and the fact that children were occupying adjacent classrooms, it still gave the go ahead for the workers to begin to strip out the area.
HSE inspector Paul Cooper said: “The dangers of asbestos are well known in the building industry so for the managers of Greswolde Construction not to inform their employees of its presence shows a complete disregard for their safety and wellbeing.
“What makes it worse is that this work was being carried out in a primary school where young children were in the next room.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is for anyone carrying out building work to obtain the proper asbestos surveys and then act upon them.”