Holiday park guests exposed to asbestos

STEPHEN PULLINGER A jagged sheet of asbestos was left in the lobby of a Norfolk holiday park potentially exposing guests and staff to the deadly dust, a court heard yesterday.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A jagged sheet of asbestos was left in the lobby of a Norfolk holiday park potentially exposing guests and staff to the deadly dust, a court heard yesterday.

The discovery of the hazard was made by an environmental health officer who started out on a routine inspection of Seacroft Holiday Park, in Beach Road, Hemsby, near Yarmouth.

He swiftly became alarmed when he saw the badly broken insulation board and asbestos debris littering the floor of a boiler room from where it had apparently been taken.

The Stalham-based firm, represented by Keith Richardson and health and safety manager John Foreman, admitted 11 charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, including the main two of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and the same for non-employees.

Highlighting the aggrav-ating factor that the public was exposed to risk, Yarmouth magistrates fined the company a total of £18,750 with £860 costs.

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Isha Prince, prosecuting for Yarmouth Borough Council, told the bench: "The lobby where the asbestos sheet was propped up is on the direct route guests would take from the chalets."

She said as the inspector continued his tour on October 11 last year he also found severely damaged asbestos boarding in the swimming pool plant storage room and asbestos that had not been covered to stop dust escaping in the ceiling of the laundry.

She said the park had already received a caution in 2004 for not dealing with asbestos properly and that was why the council was prosecuting.

Ms Prince said asbestos was responsible for 3,500 deaths a year in the UK and it was the biggest work-related cause of death - some of the asbestos discovered at Seacroft was of the most dangerous blue and brown type.

Robert Barley, defending, said it was inevitable there would be asbestos on the premises as some of the chalets dated back to the 1930s.

He said following the incident in 2004 when the park was cautioned for stripping tiles and exposing asbestos it had made considerable strides in tackling the issue, commissioning a detailed asbestos survey report from East Coast Insulations and investing in training for senior staff.

Mr Barley said the lobby was out of bounds to the public at the time the board was placed there because of building work in the bar.

And he disputed that the asbestos in the room by the swimming pool was dangerous because no work had been done to disturb it.

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