The NHS Trust that looks after Watford General Hospital has admitted a string of health and safety violations in relation to asbestos management.
West Herfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust pleaded guilty to five offences stretching more than 10 years.
The Trust admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees - including members of the estates teams exposed to asbestos - between April 1, 2000, and December 6, 2011.
It also admitted failing to ensure that measures which should be taken for managing the risk from asbestos at the non-domestic premises were specified in a written plan, and that a written plan was not implemented, at the Trust’s three sites in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead between November 12, 2006, and December 6, 2011.
The Trust further admitted failing to ensure adequate information, instruction and training was given to those of its employees liable to be exposed to asbestos, including members of the estates department, during the same dates across its three sites.
And the Trust admitted failing to take the measures necessary to reduce the exposure of its employees, including memebers of the estates department, to asbestos at the lowest level reasonably practicable between those dates and across the three sites.
Dr Mike Van Der Watt, the Trust’s medical director, said: "We can confirm that on June 20 we pleaded guilty at Watford Magistrates’ Court to five offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the management of asbestos at our three hospital sites over a period of in excess of ten years dating from the creation of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust in 2000.
"The case has now been referred to the Crown Court and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage other than to say that we have made significant changes to the way we manage and control asbestos across our hospitals, ensuring the risk of exposure to our staff and patients is to the lowest reasonable level. In addition, we have invested heavily in the safe removal of asbestos across all three sites."
The case was committed to St Albans Crown Court for sentence on a date and time yet to be fixed.