Bicester housing workers exposed to asbestos

Construction union UCATT have raised extreme concerns after several of their members working in a property in Bicester were exposed to asbestos.

The workers are employed by Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd a subsidiary of Sanctuary Housing. The workers were instructed to undertake work on an empty Sanctuary home in Withington Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire. The workers asked management whether asbestos was present in the property and were told that it was not.

When removing the ceiling in the property they were exposed to asbestos. UCATT understands that 6 workers employed by Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd were exposed to asbestos. The workers now understand that Sanctuary’s records indicated that there was asbestos present in the property’s ceiling but the workers did not receive this information.

Following the exposure the workers were requested to make statements about what had occurred and became increasingly alarmed that the company sought to change and alter what they had said about the exposure to asbestos.

Since the exposure occurred a separate private company has been undertaking work on the affected property, however their remains concerns that the disturbed asbestos has not been thoroughly removed from the property.

UCATT had sought a meeting with Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd to receive reassurances from management that such needless exposure will not re-occur but the company has refused to meet the union.

Paul Lomax, Regional Organiser for UCATT’s London and South East Region, said: “The company’s performance has been lamentable. Workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos. Rather than ensuring this never happens again the company are literally trying to sweep the entire matter under the carpet.”


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