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Decorating firm MJC Decorating and Refurbishing was fined after it exposed employees, agency staff and members of the public to potentially fatal doses of asbestos, could now face multiple asbestos compensation claims.
The incidents happened when an office in Nuffield Industrial Estate in Poole was having renovations carried out over several weeks in 2009.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard from Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors that MJC Decorating and Refurbishing began removing ceilings on the industrial estate without assessing whether any asbestos was present.
The resulting cloud of dust released when the ceiling was taken down had significant levels of asbestos, with four employees and 14 agency staff exposed to asbestos dust and fibres that can cause lung diseases and respiratory problems; including lung cancer.
HSE inspectors later found that asbestos infected material was disposed of as non-hazardous, putting the health and safety of waste removal engineers at risk.
MJC Decorating and Refurbishing, based in Sutton, pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 Act. It was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £36,943 in legal costs.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Helena Tinton said, "This was a very serious incident, which carries severe risks for people's health.
"MJC's safety failings led to the needless exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres of its employees, agency staff and the wider public. The firm didn't carry out a suitable survey for asbestos material before the work started and failed to provide protection for workers on site."
Ms Tinton also pointed out that regulations on asbestos have been in place for a number of years and are widely known in the painting and decorating industry - meaning MJC Decorating and Refurbishment's ignorance of the risks the substance posed were taken even more seriously by the judge at Bournemouth Crown Court.
If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, either at work or at home, contact Claims Direct as you may be entitled to compensation.
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