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Firm fined £3k for inaccurate asbestos survey

Hertfordshire contractor Bestoff Services has been fined £3,000 for unwittingly exposing two workers to asbestos while they carried out refurbishment work at a site in Oxford last year.

Didcot Magistrates’ Court heard the company carried out an asbestos survey at the building site in February 2008 and reported that it contained no asbestos.

But the Health and Safety Executive said: “Two members of staff began work on the site the following month and part of their job involved removing panels of fibrous board.

“Several days later the site manager became suspicious about the pieces of fibrous panels that had been removed and they were analysed. The results showed they did in fact contain asbestos.”

The court was told that on 27 March an additional survey was carried out which identified asbestos-containing materials in several areas throughout the building, including the areas where the two men had been working.

The HSE said: “Had it not been for the vigilance of the site manager, many more people on site would have been put at risk of exposure.”

Bestoff Services pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. In addition to the fine it was ordered to pay costs of £2,091.70 and a victim surcharge of £15.