The District Court has ordered a company to pay over $263,000 after finding that they failed to properly protect their workers from exposure to asbestos.

The employees were working on a ship that was built in the 1970s. One of the employees noticed that the ship was fitted with a form of insulation that he suspected to be asbestos and reported this to the ship’s captain.

After reporting the suspected asbestos to the captain, further investigation was carried out and it was confirmed that asbestos was present on the ship.

The company extracted its employees from the ship shortly after, and the asbestos was removed.

Asbestos is a known risk, particularly in ships constructed in the 1970s and 80s and should have been identified by the company prior to sending employees to work on the vessel.

The company stated that they didn’t think they were responsible for asbestos testing, as they weren’t the ones operating the vessel, they merely supplied staff. The judge decided that the company was obligated to inquire into whether the ship had asbestos, as sending its employees into an unsafe working environment was not permissible, especially given that the risks were known.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of over $257,000 and emotional harm reparation of $3000 to two employees.

If there is confusion around a company’s health and safety obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.