In Glasgow, Scotland, one of the country's largest health boards is being fined 6,000 Euros for failure to clear asbestos from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) admitted its disregard to abiding by asbestos regulations. Poisonous fibers were in a basement plant room at the hospital.
It was assessed as a high risk in 2011, in which staff had already been exposed.
A survey in February 2009 showed there was presence of asbestos containing materials in several places within the plant room. However, it was said that they were in good condition and considered low risk of exposure. The survey recommended the asbestos containing materials should be properly labeled and monitored to manage future deterioration.
Then a second survey was carried out in January 2011. Results of the survey concluded that some of the asbestos containing materials were in poor condition and were considered a high risk of exposure. The asbestos containing materials had deteriorated, but it isn't known how or when they had been damaged.
After the health issue was reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the tests resulted positive for asbestos, the plant room was sealed off. An investigation was conducted by the HSE and discovered that the health board did not take any action since 2009 to monitor the plant room.
Employees of the health board and contractors regularly accessed the plant room and thus could potentially have been exposed to the harmful fibers.
Since the matter was reported in October 2011 by the HSE, a representative of the health board told the court that it was clear the asbestos policy was not implemented properly. Following the case, there has been a renewed policy and the health board has taken action to reinforce their asbestos procedures.
Asbestos was commonly used in households and at worksites due to its tensile strength and resistance to fire. The natural fiber is linked to over 3,000 deaths per year. It is known to cause meosthelioma, an incurable disease, and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Where Could Asbestos Be Found?
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"Board Fined over Asbestos at Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill." BBC News: Glasgow & West Scotland. BBC, 20 June 2013. Web. 21 June 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-22989353>.