This case dates back to the year 2009 in Michigan, USA when a group of volunteers and untrained employees were tasked by Detroit International Bridge Co, with cleaning up an old building at Michigan Central Station. The company was subsequently fined by the OSHA for exposing these people to asbestos dust and other toxic materials.
The family of a woman who died of mesothelioma has been awarded over $320,000 compensation against the firm who employed her husband in their boiler making factory.
She was exposed to the dust on her husband’s overalls when she shook them out prior to washing them every evening. This is termed secondary exposure and this case is the first in Scotland, UK to have been awarded such damages. The firm was called Babcock & Wilcox, now Babcock International. You can read the full story here. There is another article about fines for contravening asbestos regulations here.
Asbestos is Dangerous
Building consultants, Watts Group PLC were prosecuted and fined £30,000, plus costs in January 2016 for health and safety breaches that allowed two construction workers to be exposed to asbestos.
The group was the asbestos removal project manager and surveyed for asbestos prior to replacement of doors in a service duct below a hospital. They drew up plans showing where asbestos was present and where it had been removed. The survey, however was defective and asbestos in poor condition was present throughout the area but not shown on the plans.
It is vital to health and also to comply with legal requirements that the correct type of asbestos survey is carried out systematically and results recorded. Information on where to find asbestos can be found on the HSE website.
Persons responsible for managing premises such as shops or industrial units have a duty to manage asbestos. You can find out more about that at HSENI’s ‘Duty to manage asbestos’ page