It has been revealed that two workers that were working at the London department store Selfridges were exposed to deadly asbestos in May of last year. The workers had been hired by a sub-contractor to work on the refitting of the staff changing rooms. Exposure to airborne asbestos dust and fibers can result in a range of health problems, including the deadly asbestos related cancer known as mesothelioma.

The city council received complaints relating to the safety procedures in place, and then met with officials from Selfridges. Following this the procedures for handing asbestos during the project were changed. An official from the council said: “We received a complaint about works carried out at Selfridges on 23 May 2007, when contractors were exposed to asbestos while removing pipe lagging.”

She added: “Concerned by what we heard, we arranged to meet with Selfridges to discuss shortfalls in the way they surveyed and managed asbestos removal and as a result, the store implemented a comprehensive database system for dealing with asbestos. They are still using this system and our environmental health team is happy with it.”

An official from Selfridges said: “We did, as you would expect in any situation, discuss with HSE [the health and safety executive] our procedures and so on and we have made some improvements. I think that reflects what Westminster are saying: while they may have had concerns a year ago, they are happy now.”

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