Basildon Crown Court heard that asbestos was found in poor condition when Connect Packaging Ltd moved into industrial units in Manor Road Trading Estate, Benfleet in 2007, but that it failed to act to control risk. As a result, its employees were exposed to risk from airborne asbestos fibres.
When Connect Packaging Ltd moved out of the units in January 2009, it sublet them to Creo Retail Marketing Ltd, another company within its group, but continued to exercise some control over maintenance and repair work at the premises.
In 2014, Creo Retail Marketing Ltd undertook its own asbestos survey following the appointment of a new health and safety officer. This confirmed continuing risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres from sources including poorly-enscapsulated blue asbestos (crocidolite).
Despite this, workers remained exposed to these risks while the companies debated their responsibility for its removal and failed to act effectively to prevent exposure. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and its scientists found asbestos fibres at locations including the workers’ clocking-in point, on rafters above work areas, and within a stationery cupboard.
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