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Firm fined for failing to manage asbestos at Tyneside site

Exova (UK) Limited has been prosecuted after putting workers at its Tyneside premises at risk of exposure to asbestos.

An investigation was launched into the activities of the laboratory testing firm following a complaint the company had not dealt with damaged asbestos at its site at The Grubb Parsons Building on Shields Road, Newcastle, despite being recommended to do so on two previous occasions.

Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard the company's own accredited asbestos testing branch carried out a survey of the premises on 3 October 2008. Damaged asbestos was identified by this branch in two separate areas of the site and the survey stated the damaged asbestos should be removed, repaired or sealed off.

A further survey was completed in February 2010 and again stated the previously identified damaged asbestos was still there and repeated its earlier recommendation.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Andrew Woodhall visited the site on 15 July 2010 and found the recommendations of the two earlier surveys had still not been implemented and employees were continuing to access and work in areas where damaged asbestos was present. He then instigated enforcement action.

Exova (UK) Limited, of Lochend Industrial Estate, Queen Anne Drive, Newbridge, Midlothian, was fined a total of £36,000 (£12,000 for each offence) and ordered to pay £8,000 costs after it pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.


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