M&S put profit before safety

Bournemouth Crown Court fined Marks and Spencer’s £1m with £600,000 costs after a breach of asbestos rules at the Broad Street, Reading, store.

Contractors had worked night shifts to remove asbestos, completing small sections before trading resumed each day. The Judge heard that contractors, shop staff and the public were at risk of asbestos exposure. The Health and Safety Executive had alleged that M&S failed to ensure removal work met at least the minimum standards. The company had produced its own guidance on the task, but the contractors failed to follow these properly. Three contracting companies were fined £150,000 in total.

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