A DAIRY has been fined £300,000 for failing to remove asbestos lagging in its factory.

Crediton Dairy Ltd, of Church Lane, Crediton, admitted two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to discharge its duty under the Control of Asbestos regulations.

Exeter Magistrates Court was told the offences related to an 18-day period in the summer of 2019.

District Judge Stuart Smith fined the company £300,000 and also ordered it to pay £3,215.25 in costs and statutory surcharge.

The offences which the company pleaded guilty to were both brought under the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations and the Health and Safety Act.

The first charge stipulated that between July 5 and 23, 2019, being an employer, the dairy had failed to discharge the duty to which you were subject by regulations to prevent or, where this was not reasonably practicable, reduce to the lowest level reasonably practicable the spread of asbestos from any place where work under the employer’s control was carried out.

The second charge specified that, being an employer who undertakes work with asbestos, they failed to discharge the duty to which you were subject by virtue of The Control of Asbestos Regulations in that waste asbestos was not stored and distributed in accordance with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

A specialist engineering company, RWH and Sons, which is registered at an office in Exeter but based in Cranmere Road, Okehampton, admitted four offences under the same regulations and were fined £2,660 with £3,290.19 costs.

They pleaded guilty to working on asbestos without the appropriate licence, failing to provide protective clothing for two workers, failing to minimise risks, and not storing waste asbestos correctly.

Barristers representing both companies said there had been no deliberate breaches of the regulations and the work has now been carried out satisfactorily.

Details from improvement notices published by the HSE in August and September 2019 showed that they problem was with unintentional release of asbestos from lagging in the dairy’s process area.

The order required action to prevent asbestos being blown or extracted to other working areas.


In a statement a spokesperson for Crediton Dairy said: “Crediton Dairy has always taken health and safety very seriously and we have taken a consistent and long-term approach to ensuring that we have in place high standards, systems and controls across our entire operation.

“In relation to the HSE’s investigation we have pleaded guilty to two charges associated with the accidental release of asbestos at our site as a result of an incident that took place more than four years ago in 2019.

“This was a highly regrettable and isolated incident relating to the removal and disposal of a small section of redundant pipework which contained some asbestos insulation.

“On becoming aware of this we responded swiftly to engage experienced asbestos contractors who undertook testing to understand the extent of any contamination and advised on the necessary steps to be undertaken which we immediately followed in full in 2019.

“We have also co-operated fully with the HSE investigation and put in place further measures to ensure that such an incident does not happen in the future.”