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Famous High Street brand due for sentencing over Removal of Asbestos Safety failings
Posted by David Cant on July 21, 2011

Asbestos needs to be taken seriously and unfortunately many companies are failing their employees and the public when it comes to this deadly substance.  In the news this week there was a piece about Marks and Spencer, the hugely well-known retailers, who exposed people to asbestos.  If you talk to your health and safety consultants about asbestos surveys they will help you to create a safe plan of operation to remove the asbestos if any is found on your premises. They are due to be sentenced on 26 September 2011.

Removal of Asbestos Containing Materials Was Unsafe

Marks and Spencer have been found guilty for failing to safely remove the material from two of their shops.  One of the Marks and Spencer shops is located in Bournemouth and the other in Reading.  The Health and Safety Executive decided to prosecute the retailers along with two other contractors who they hired to remove the asbestos.

At Winchester Crown Court the judge was informed about the lack of time given for the removal of a material from the Marks and Spencer stores which contained the asbestos. The contractors had to work during the night so that by the following morning the shops would be able to be opened to the public as usual.  Small enclosures were made and the aim was to complete small sections until the entire job had been completed.

Own Rules Were Followed At Reading

Rather than following the correct procedures the Health and Safety Executive claimed that Marks and Spencer made up their own rules.  One of the health and safety services offered by Veritas is the asbestos survey and if you have any doubts as to what the rules are when it comes to the removal of the material you should make contact with the health and safety consultants right away.

Marks and Spencer paid no attention to the guidance in place, and the contractors, PA Realisations, followed the requests of the retailers rather than the laws.  The contractors put the public at risk as they did not try to stop the asbestos from being left on the floor leaving lots of asbestos contamination.

Bournemouth Store Had Poor Plans in Place

In Bournemouth the job of removing the material containing asbestos was given to Willmot Dixon Construction.  The Health and Safety Executive found that when they worked they failed to put any sort of plan in place and did not carefully monitor or manage the removal process.  The other point raised was the lack of an asbestos survey such as the ones offered by health and safety consultants.

These issues raised showed that both the contractors and Marks and Spencer were at fault.  They have all been found guilty for putting the lives of the public and the employees at serious risk.  Around 4000 deaths are attributed to asbestos every single year, which is why it is so important to make use of the health and safety services offered by firms such as Veritas Consulting. Call 0800 1488 677 to find out about the asbestos surveys service.


Director at Veritas Consulting. 20+ years as a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. A trusted, risk savvy portfolio professional who is fluent in practical advice and an effective workplace solutionist.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: asbestos management, Workplace Health and Safety

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