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John Lewis pleads guilty to breaching health and safety rules

Department store chain John Lewis has pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety after construction workers were potentially exposed to asbestos.

According to The Scotsman, 15 contract workers refurbishing the John Lewis store in Edinburgh in July 2008 were told to restart work, even after the alarm had been raised about the risk of asbestos exposure.

When asbestos fibres are inhaled it can cause serious diseases such as lung cancer.

John Lewis and contractors Morris & Spottiswood pleaded guilty on Monday to breaches of health and safety under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Barry Matheson, managing director of John Lewis Edinburgh, said: “John Lewis takes the health and safety of our partners (staff) and customers very seriously, and has developed extensive procedures to ensure our network of shops across the UK are safe places to work and shop.  

“Since the incident, we have implemented comprehensive new training for partners backed-up by refresher courses, clearer communication and senior management involvement, ensuring we always enforce strict procedure with all health and safety matters.”

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