In March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge. After work had been carried out, asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.
An investigation by the HSE found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work. Newnham College of Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.The college was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said, “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals. Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”
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