NHS Trust Risked Health of Employees for More than a Decade

August 25th, 2014 | By injuryclaims

A court hearing in St Albans has revealed that a Hertfordshire NHS Trust risked the health of its employees for more than a decade.

St Albans Crown Court heard that between April 2000 and December 2011 a team of NHS employees was carrying out minor repairs and maintenance projects on properties at three Hertfordshire Hospitals without being aware that the buildings in which they were working contained asbestos.

Although the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust had identified some of the areas in which asbestos existed at the Hemel Hempstead Hospital, Watford General Hospital and St Albans Hospital, there was no asbestos monitoring plan or management plan in place to indicate to the team where the asbestos existed or how they could protect themselves against exposure to asbestos.

Only when a survey of the three properties was conducted in 2011 did the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust become aware of the scale of the problem, and that asbestos fibres could have been disturbed by their employees. The NHS Trust immediately imposed control measures and alerted the Health Service Executive (HSE) – after the NHS Trust having risked the health of employees for more than a decade.

The HSE prosecuted the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust on four counts of breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and a further breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The Trust was fined £55,000 and ordered to pay £34,078 in costs.

According to one of the HSE inspectors who were involved in the prosecution – Sandra Dias – the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust risked the health of employees by failing to adequately manage the risk of asbestos. Ms Dias commented that “as a result, a number of its employees will now have to spend the rest of their lives not knowing whether they have been exposed. We all hope that none will suffer as a result.”

Categories: Work Injury Claims


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