Stirling Council fined £10,5000 over failure to act on asbestos

Stirling Council has been issued with a £10,500 penalty after it ignored warnings for nine years about asbestos in the basement of its Old Viewforth headquarters.

The council sent office staff to sweep, dust and move furniture about in a boiler room where pipes were lagged with the potentially deadly material. The workers were not provided with protective clothing or masks, and there was a risk they could develop asbestos-related illnesses in later life.

Prosecutor Selena Brown said the boiler room was inspected in 2003 by experts from the Institute of Occupational Medicine, who warned asbestos was present in several areas of the 1935 building. However, no action was taken.

An expert survey in 2012 warned about asbestos in the boiler room, at which point the council's health and safety department realised that employees might have been exposed. Following this the council restricted access to the boiler room and reported itself to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which launched an investigation.

A council spokeswoman said: "Following the discovery of potential asbestos exposure and the service of Improvement Notices in 2012, the council responded quickly and professionally, cooperating fully with the HSE investigation and putting in place measures to mitigate the risk to employees.

"The council has offered support to all staff potentially affected by this matter."

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