Company fined £20,000 after disturbing asbestos in roof of Northampton primary school

Lings Primary School. Picture from Google Maps.
Lings Primary School. Picture from Google Maps.

A company has been fined after risking possible exposure of children and staff to asbestos that was contained in the roof of a Northampton primary school.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Amey Communities Limited (ACL) were contracted to carry out roof refurbishment at Lings Primary School, Hayeswood Road, Northampton.

During the course of the works, workers from ACL disturbed asbestos insulation boards in a small plant room.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found ACL failed to monitor and identify asbestos materials or ensure key personnel had suitable asbestos awareness training.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,737.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said after the hearing: “The serious health risks of asbestos, which is a class one carcinogen, are well-known and publicised.

“Any maintenance or construction work undertaken in buildings built before 2000 must consider and manage the risk of possible asbestos-containing materials.

“It is important this material is considered at every stage of a construction project and failure to do so places workers, buildings occupants and the public at risk to possible exposure to asbestos fibres.”

It is understood that quick reactions by the school caretaker saw the class next door secured soon after the incident, which happened on Thursday, November 6.

Safety checks and tests were carried out, during which time children were kept out of the area.

However all air tests and checks came back negative and showed that there was no risk to anyone within the building.

Afterwards, the area was cordoned off and the reception and year 1 class were taught in the year 5 and 6 area throughout the Friday.

Lings school was subsequently closed on the Monday for all students as further tests were undertaken.