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Fri January 28 2022

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School and contractor fined for asbestos failings

1 Dec 21 A school and its maintenance contractor have been fined after workers disturbed asbestos while installing a new heating system.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that, in February 2019, TW Steam & Heating Services Limited had been contracted by Park View Academy to install a new heating system at Park View School in Chester Le Street.

In the course of the work, ceiling tiles containing asbestos were disturbed, potentially exposing several people to asbestos fibres.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that neither the contractor nor the school had referred to existing asbestos registers and management plans to identify any asbestos within the building.

Park View Academy and TW Steam & Heating Services Limited both pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The school, as client, was fined £3,000 with £4,785.37 costs.

The contractor was fined £2,000 with £4,710.37 costs.

HSE inspector Ashfaq Ali said after the hearing: “The dangers associated with asbestos are well known and advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations. Those in charge of premises have a duty to inform contractors of the presence of asbestos containing materials, ensuring that works are carried out safely.

“Those undertaking work which is likely to disturb asbestos, or asbestos containing materials, should ensure that building occupants and operatives are not exposed to asbestos. Those undertaking the work should also provide suitable information, instruction and training to their employees.”

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