The Hidden Potential Killer

The Hidden Potential Killer

18th February 2020

A fine of £10,000 plus £12,759 costs has been imposed on the University of Lincoln after evidence of the existence of asbestos-containing material throughout the University came to light.

It was only by chance that the situation came to light. In February 2010, a lecturer found herself accidentally locked in a room at the University, on freeing herself she had noticed a dusty material which looked odd and contacted the health and safety department to investigate further. They discovered many of the doors were lined with asbestos insulating board (AIB).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were called in and found that several independent asbestos surveys over the preceding years in many areas of the University had uncovered evidence of asbestos-containing material and asbestos debris. They were particularly critical of the fact that the University had failed to take any kind of remedial action.

Subsequent to the conviction, the HSE Inspector who investigated the case said: “Exposure to asbestos fibres is a well-known health hazard that results in approximately 4,000 deaths a year. The university failed to follow its asbestos management plan and to take appropriate steps to manage the risks associated with asbestos over a number of years, putting staff, students and contractors at risk of potential exposure.”

There are two salutary lessons to be learnt from this sorry tale;

– It is not enough to have an Asbestos Survey; if Asbestos is discovered you must act.
– If you have an Asbestos Management Plan you must follow it.

Regardless of which business sector you fall into, are you sure that Asbestos is not present in your premises? If not check Asbestos in the A- Z at for guidance, here we have added an update on what exactly is required for effective Asbestos management.