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A Trust in Brynmawr, South Wales has been informed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that it has placed members of the public, employees and trust volunteers at risk of exposure to asbestos.

The Market Hall Cinema and Arts Trust took over the running of the Valleys cinema in 2013. During restoration and demolition work, the HSE accused the Trust of a number of failings regarding health and safety, which included the removal of asbestos. In November 2016, the cinema was closed following to discovery that there may have been asbestos in the building.

A prohibition notice was issued by Blaenau Gwent Council, restricting access while investigations were underway. The notice was seen by Wales Online, and it included a criticism that volunteers were not given the necessary information, training or equipment, including PPE, that was required for removal of asbestos. It was also alleged that the asbestos was stored at the back of the building in black bags. An asbestos management plan had been provided by Blaenau Gwent Borough Council, but had been ignored so potentially placed volunteers at risk of exposure to asbestos.

The results of the investigation have been accepted by Blaenau Gwent County Council. However, a spokesperson for the Trust has said that it will be disputing some of the claims. The HSE had stated that no further action will be taken against the charity, which was confirmed in writing.

Asbestos can cause serious illness if breathed in by workers, with risks including cancer.

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