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Thursday 20th June 2019

Asbestos exposure at Devon school

16th July 2012

The Health and Safety Executive prosecution of Sherborne School and a building company director has resulted in guilty verdicts for both parties.


The school and Peter Eldridge, the company director of a firm hired to perform refurbishment works at the school, were prosecuted in Dorchester Crown Court for failing to prevent asbestos exposure.

An investigation found asbestos boards were taken out in an unsafe manner, which led to builders and a work experience student being exposed to asbestos fibres.

The HSE said there was "inadequate planning" and the company had failed to perform an asbestos survey.

Although a sample taken in 2008 at the school had shown that asbestos was present and an asbestos register was kept at the school, neither parties hired a Construction Design and Management co-ordinator.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Joanna Teasdale said: "Both Peter Eldridge and Sherborne School knew about the risks posed by the presence of asbestos in the school buildings, and yet they failed to manage the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres during the refurbishment project."

"As a result several people, including at least one teenager, were put at unnecessary risk. In being exposed to asbestos fibres they could develop a serious and potentially fatal illness."

The court found Sherborne School was guilty of the breach of two HSE regulations and it was fined £60,000 and received an order to pay £13,000 in costs.

Peter Eldridge was found guilty of breaching a number of different regulations and was fined £10,000 with costs to pay of £6,000.


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