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Fear for workers exposed to asbestos ceiling

Bishop Auckland Magistrates' Court heard how, on 28 September 2007, the electricians and plumbers started work in a kitchen area which had not been included in the original survey.

The ceiling tiles in the kitchen contained asbestos. When the workers drilled into them with power tools, to install new wiring and plumbing, they were covered in dust and debris.

HSE inspector Victoria Wise said: "Construction and maintenance workers are among those most at risk from asbestos-related diseases due to the nature of their work. Asbestos is still widely present in buildings constructed prior to 2000, so workers can often inadvertently disturb materials containing asbestos if the correct survey has not been carried out to check for its presence and appropriate control measures put in place.

"In addition construction and maintenance workers should have asbestos awareness training so that they can recognise that some materials may contain asbestos and know what action to take."

Among the workers exposed was Jonathan Cook, 38, from Cleethorpes. He said: "Because the effects of asbestos take a long time to show up, the worry of whether the asbestos has caused lasting damage to my health will stay with me for years to come. And it's not just me - it's a huge worry for my partner also, as there is a chance that she might have been exposed to fibres that were brought home on my work clothes.

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