Kent hotel fined £200,000 after asbestos dust discovered

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Kent hotel fined £200,000 after asbestos dust discovered
Kent hotel fined £200,000 after asbestos dust discovered

The owners of the Grand Burstin hotel on the seafront in Folkestone, Kent, have been ordered to pay over £200,000 after guests and construction workers were exposed to asbestos dust.

Britannia Hotels Ltd did not ensure a full asbestos assessment was carried out before refurbishment of the Pavilion Wing was carried out.

According to Kent Online, Judge Simon James was told at Canterbury Crown Court that a report indicated the possibility of asbestos in the structure.

But the company went ahead and started work on building 53 bedrooms without using a specialist firm to check for asbestos.

The hotel restaurant also remained open while the work was being carried out.

Britannia Hotels admitted breaching safety regulations of the Health and Safey at Work Act, and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £40, 051in costs.

According to Kent Online, Mark Balysz, for the Health and Safety Executive, told the court: "Throughout the construction works, the restaurant, which was on the ground floor, remained in use and therefore the lobby area was shared by guests and construction workers."

Mr Malysz highlighted the danger of asbestos, saying that there more than 2,300 cases of asbestos-related illnesses in 2010, that "were almost always fatal".

He added: "Breathing in asbestos dust can cause serious damage to the lungs and cause cancer. There is no known cure for asbestos-related diseases. The more dust that is inhaled the greater the risk."

Health and safety inspector Melvyn Stancliffe spoke to Kent News following the hearing, and said: "Britannia Hotels Ltd carried out refurbishment work without carrying out a full and proper asbestos survey before works got under way.

"The company's failure to deal with the asbestos could have resulted in up to 22 workers being exposed to asbestos from the outset of the project between February and July 2010."

He added that although guests did not have direct access to the area concerned, asbestos fibres could have to the areas that were still open to the public adding: "The simple fact is that because of the company's failures, both guests and workers have been put at risk, and they now face an uncertain future."

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