Berkshire

Wokingham firm fined for Reading University asbestos exposure

A business has been fined for safety breaches after two workers were exposed to asbestos at Reading University in Berkshire.

Wokingham firm Gardner Mechanical Services (GMS) failed to tell the men the substance was present where they were carrying out mechanical work.

GMS admitted breaching safety regulations at Reading Magistrates' Court.

It was fined £28,000 and ordered to pay £22,631 in costs.

'Serious diseases'

The company was prosecuted after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that it knew asbestos was on the site while the work was taking place in September 2009.

As principal contractors they failed in their duty to remove the dangerous substance and tell the workers, the court heard.

HSE inspector Adam Wycherley said: "As a result of poor planning on the part of GMS two men were exposed to high levels of asbestos fibres, leaving them at risk of contracting serious diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis of the lungs.

"GMS had a clear duty of care to relay important information to its subcontractors in order to prevent their exposure to asbestos, but this simply did not happen."

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