University fined for asbestos exposure risk

Lincoln University Higher Education Corporation has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of nearly £13,000 after they admitted two breaches of Health and safety legislation resulting in students and staff being put at risk of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres.

Asbestos surveys had been carried out at parts of the university's estate over the years, but the university did not take any steps upon learning of the presence of asbestos. However, it was noticed that a door contained asbestos insulating board when a member of staff broke the lock, and subsequently uncovered that other doors also contained the material.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and brought the charges against the University which they accepted. Students and staff faced a potential risk of asbestos exposure which can cause illnesses such as mesothelioma and pleural plaques.

Tanya Waterworth, a solicitor specialising in asbestos related claims at Wilson Nesbitt in Northern Ireland, commented:

"While awareness of the dangers of asbestos has advanced considerably over the last years, there is still an abundant presence of the material to be found in buildings throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. There are specific rules to be adhered to in the management of asbestos material and employers have a duty to ensure that they comply with these rules to act in the best interest of their employees and others who access their buildings.

"Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos should seek medical advice. They may also wish to pursue a claim for compensation, in which case they should contact a solicitor experienced in asbestos related injuries and claims as this is a very specialised area."

Email Wilson Nesbitt at [email protected] to contact a solicitor in respect of an asbestos related claim.