WE Solicitors have dealt with numerous cases against various hospital trusts and has some recent cases ongoing. This points to an alarming awareness that some hospitals that should be there to help people, are actually putting others at risk when it comes to building work and asbestos exposure.

Here is another case which has been mentioned in the press recently.

A court has heard that West Hertforshire NHS Trust put workmen at risk to exposure to asbestos for 11 years.

The West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust referred itself to the Health and Safety Executive when a new member of staff raised concerns about asbestos.

The trust runs hospitals in Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans.

The court heard 47 staff who were involved in maintenance work at the hospitals between 2000 and 2011 had been contacted.

Prosecutor Adam Payter said none of the workers had developed an asbestos-related illness, but added there was “a real risk they may contract a disease in the future.”

Mr Payter said there was “considerable potential for harm to workers,” and “the defendant was aware of the risks, but ignored them”.

In 2006, the trust was fined £17,000 by magistrates after pleading guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Colin McCaul QC, defending, said the trust had “been candid with itself, the Health and Safety Executive, the court and public.

“The system now in operation is robust, comprehensive and easily comprehensible. All asbestos has now been removed or contained. ”

After pleading guilty to health and safety failings at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Stephen Gullick criticised the trust for “very serious and persistent” failures and fined the trust £55,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £34,078.

The trust was created in 2000 and introduced an asbestos risk policy in 2007.

But the HSE found prior to 2011, surveys into the presence of asbestos were deficient, the manager responsible was inadequately qualified and training and record keeping were lacking.

The court heard no risk assessments were carried out either before or after the 2007 policy.

Maintenance staff in particular had been potentially exposed to asbestos, it was said. A total of 47 people involved in this work between 2000 and 2011 had been contacted.

Prosecutor Adam Payter said none had developed an asbestos-related illness, but added there was “a real risk they may contract a disease in the future.”

Passing sentence, Judge Gullick said: “Clearly, management and supervision was grossly inadequate in ensuring that the asbestos risk assessment policy was implemented.

“The failures admitted by the trust were very serious and were persistent [and meant] that wholly inadequate regard was had to the safety of their employees in the estates department, in particular.”

If you or a family member has been affected by an asbestos related illness please contact us today on Freephone 0800 294 3065, or talk to us on live chat where we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.