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Mesothelioma Lawyer - Article - Egg carton manufacturer fined £50,000 over asbestos

Posted on Feb 02, 2006 | www.hse.gov.uk

Egg carton manufacturer fined £50,000 over asbestos

Following its successful prosecution of Omni-Pac (UK) Ltd, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reminds everyone of the dangers of asbestos.

Yesterday (1 February) the Great Yarmouth based company was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £86,000 at Norwich Crown Court, after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety law. This criminal case follows an investigation by HSE into the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) at the firm's site in South Denes Road in October 2003.

Following the hearing, Paul Carter, HSE investigating inspector, said: "Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related death; breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to serious diseases, including cancer. This case demonstrates that HSE takes the failure to properly manage the risks from asbestos extremely seriously. Businesses need to ensure that they are complying with the law.

"Omni-pac failed to maintain the asbestos containing materials throughout the site, particularly in those areas at high level that were not readily visible. The company failed to adhere to its own procedures and consequently people could have been exposed asbestos over a long period of time."

Air samples showed a high level of asbestos at Omni-Pac. The primary source of contamination was from damaged and poorly maintained asbestos insulation on top of dryers used to produce the finished papier-mâché egg cartons.

Egg carton manufacturer fined £50,000

Omni-pac pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, held at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court on Monday, November 7. The company admitted breaches of Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, with respect to the company's duties both to its employees and to others who were affected by the way it conducted its undertaking. Yesterday the company was fined £25,000 for each breach.

Notes to editors:

1. Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in Great Britain - around 3,500 deaths each year. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal wall) and asbestosis (an irreversible scarring of the lungs that causes a decrease in lung function).

2. Further information on asbestos is available on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm . HSE's free guide, A short guide to managing asbestos in premises [PDF 183kb], can be downloaded from this site.

3. Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that "It shall be the duty of every employee to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees".

4. Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health and safety".

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