Court for alleged asbestos danger firm

HEALTH and safety officials are today preparing to take an asbestos removal company to court after claims they risked public safety while stripping the potentially hazardous substance at an Ipswich development.

HEALTH and safety officials are today preparing to take an asbestos removal company to court after claims they risked public safety while stripping the potentially hazardous substance at an Ipswich development.

LCH contracts, who worked to remove asbestos from St Francis Tower in 2005, are accused of breaching safety regulations by failing to protect those not in its employment, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company is also alleged to have breached three Control of Asbestos at Work regulations by failing to follow a plan of work, failing to protect workers inside an enclosure while dry stripping asbestos and failing to prevent the spread of asbestos.

LCH, which is based in Billericay, Essex is licensed to remove asbestos by the HSE.

On its website it purports to be “a major player in the Health and Safety Executive licensed asbestos removal contractor sector” and boasts an “exemplary safety record”.

The company is to appear at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on March 5 in connection with the breaches.

Most Read

The asbestos removers are co-accused with Loughton-based R Maskell Limited, who were the principal contractors on the redevelopment of the Franciscan Way tower block in 2005 and 2006.

They are accused of five breaches of health and safety regulations: failure to ensure health and safety of employees; working with asbestos containing materials without a license; having no asbestos survey; failure to prevent spread of asbestos and failure to have adequate measures for fire fighting.

Richard Maskell, of Homer Drive on the Isle of Dogs, who is thought to be the company director is also accused of failing to look at fire risks, not having an asbestos survey and failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

R Maskell Limited, who were trading as Chrysalis Demolition, were served with a prohibition notice at the end of 2005 after health and safety inspectors found asbestos was not being correctly disposed of at the site.

Speaking at the time Mr Maskell told The Evening Star problems had arisen because sealed bins, used to dispose of asbestos, could not be placed close enough to the building.

He said officials had intervened to prevent the substance being carried in sealed bags on to the street and said there had been no risk to the public.

LCH were contacted by The Evening Star but declined comment.

HEALTH and safety officials announced plans to prosecute LCH for asbestos breaches as startling figures were released warning of a cancer epidemic caused by exposure to asbestos.

Scientists warned that carpenters, laggers and builders exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 70s face a grim future as 60,000 people will die from related lung cancer, mesothelioma.

Professor Julian Peto said the exposure of those now in their 60s, who worked in the construction industry, created an epidemic of mesothelioma which will peak in less than ten years.

The aggressive cancer can take 40 years to develop but once diagnosed, patients are given between nine and 12 months to live as there is no cure.

Prof Peto, Cancer Research UK chairman of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, estimated that 90,000 people will die from the disease and revealed that 30,000 had already done so.

He said: “Mesothelioma is on a completely different scale from any other industrial cancer disease in the world.”

Carpenters who used a particular type of wood in their work, shipyard workers, metal workers and electricians are all in danger, he said.

Those born between 1945 and 1950 are particularly at risk.

Mesothelioma, which is a relatively unknown form of cancer, is hard to diagnose and there is no cure - only palliative treatment.

It affects the membrane that lines the chest, and abdomen surrounding the lungs and bowel. The disease is much more common in the lung area.

According to the British Lung Foundation, more than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the UK and someone dies every five hours.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter