Marks and Spencer has had to pay £1 million with costs of £600,000 for reportedly putting building workers, shop staff and members of the public at risk during the refurbishment of two of its premises.
Furthermore, Willmott Dixon Construction and Manchester-based firms Styles & Wood and PA Realisations were also fined, as people were likely to have been exposed to asbestos during this renovation.
It is claimed the store opened to shoppers every day and the contractors operated overnight in enclosures, trying to remove small areas of this material.
The Health and Safety Executive’s southern head of operations for construction Richard Boland said: “Large retailers and other organisations who carry out major refurbishment works must give contractors enough time and space within the store to carry out the works safely.”
Asbestos is the greatest cause of workplace deaths in the UK and exposure to it results in around 4,000 individuals dying annually.
Diseases related to these fibres do not affect people instantly and can often occur years later, with people who have breathed it in also at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.