Asbestos firm doctors air test results…
A man has been given a suspended jail sentence after he removed asbestos without having the authorised licence. He also misled the householders of the affected property by doctoring an air test which suggested the rooms were safe to re-enter.
The subsequent investigation by the HSE led to a prosecution being brought against the director of the firm from Bromley responsible for the incident under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
Southwark Crown Court heard that the asbestos company was contracted to remove all asbestos insulation from the boiler room of a home in Camden – the work was carried out by the director of the company over a period of 11 days in July 2011.
The court was also told that apart from not having the necessary licence to carry out the asbestos removal work, the company director was also negligent in terms of cleaning and contaminating the area in an effective manner. Visible asbestos fibres were left in the room posing a danger to the householders as well as the plumbers who were also carrying out work in the boiler room.
On completing the work, an analyst carried out a test which suggested that the site had failed to adequately remove the asbestos threat but the director doctored this report and presented it to the owners of the house suggesting that the property was now safe.
The director of the asbestos firm from Bromley, Kent, had pleaded guilty to three breaches of the asbestos regulations between 18 and 29 July 11. He was given a six-month suspended sentence for each of the three charges and suspended from any kind of asbestos work for two years. He was also given 300 hours unpaid community service and had an electronic curfew imposed between 9pm and 6am the three months. Finally he was asked to pay £11,240 to the residents Association in Camden in addition to costs of £10,160
HSE Inspector Dominic Elliss spoke after the sentencing:
“He operated outside the safeguards provided by a licensing regime, failed to clean and decontaminate the work area and then lied to the residents of the property by providing an altered air safety test done by an analyst and informing them it was clear to re-enter.
“He clearly set out to deceive these householders but, worse than that, he was apparently content to put them and the plumbers who had been booked shortly afterwards at risk.
“Asbestos is not an historical threat. It is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and the dangers are well-known in the construction and property industries. That is why there is a well-established licensing system with companies who are fully trained and experienced in dealing properly with asbestos of all types.”
The HSE report that around 4,000 people die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.
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