The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has sent a formal Crown Censure to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after it potentially exposed workers to asbestos.
The MoD cannot be prosecuted in the criminal courts like a private company would be, as it is a Crown body.
On Monday a formal Crown Censure hearing at HSE's East Grinstead Office was attended by a senior manager from Defence Estates on behalf of the MoD.
The senior manager, who received the Censure, attended the hearing as Defence Estates is responsible for managing military estate, including asbestos, for the MoD.
In early 2005 an asbestos survey at an MoD base near Bicester, Oxfordshire, was ignored for more than a year. The original survey considered a boiler room on the base to be contaminated with asbestos and the report recommended access to the room be restricted until the asbestos had been removed.
Defence Estates and their facilities management company Interserve (Defence) Ltd, of Waterloo Road, London, failed to follow the advice of the survey and, consequently, workers were left at risk of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres and asbestos diseases.
HSE made clear its view that MoD did not comply with regulations 4(8)(c), 6(1)(a) and 10(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2002 at the Bicester MoD site between May 23, 2005, and September, 30, 2006.
Defence Estates accepted the Crown Censure on behalf of MoD after explaining the action it had taken and continues to take to prevent a recurrence at the Bicester site and other MoD sites it has responsibility for.
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