Retailer in asbestos scare fined

Retailer John Lewis has been fined £20,000 for failing to do proper checks for asbestos while carrying out refurbishment work at a city department store.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard renovation work was being carried out at the management suite of the retailer's store at the city's St James Centre in July 2008, when asbestos was discovered. The court heard around 15 workers could have been exposed to the harmful substance.

Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie QC also fined contractor Morris & Spottiswood 20,000 and added that she had reduced both fines from 30,000 to reflect the guilty pleas.

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John Lewis Edinburgh said: "Comprehensive new training, refresher courses, clearer communication and senior management involvement have been introduced" as a result of the incident.