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SUPERVISOR AND EMPLOYEE FINED OVER ASBESTOS ‘FRAUD’

Asbestos analyst and contractor supervisor conspiracy revealed by GPS records

Richard Gray, an asbestos analyst, and David Gray (no relation), a supervisor for a licensed asbestos contractor have been prosecuted after they colluded to falsify a record stating that a school had been properly cleaned of asbestos in July 2010.

The actions were uncovered by the employer of Richard Gray who used GPS tracking technology in his van to show that the van had not been to the school site where the assessment should have taken place.

The deception by the two men was uncovered after an engineer went to Our Lady’s Abingdon school to start plumbing work where he found that asbestos material remained putting him and others at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. He reported the matter to HSE who investigated and brought the prosecutions.

Ricky Gray admitted he met David Gray at a service station and fabricated a ‘clearance report’ to make it look as though the assessment had been carried out.

Not clear what motivated dangerous collusion

Ricky Gray, of Hoddesdon, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs; and David Gray of Botley, was fined £1,000 with £250 costs after both pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Moore said:

“This was an unusual fraud, the first of its type that I am aware of. It was only detected thanks to Mr Benfield’s knowledge and perseverance, and the use of GPS technology.

It was also a serious fraud as it may have exposed other workers coming on to the school site to the very real dangers of inhalation of asbestos fibres.

I can only have an educated guess at what motivated these two to collude in this fashion. For Ricky Gray, it was his last day at the company and it was a Sunday. For David Gray it was perhaps also the temptation of finishing work early as contractors have to wait for analysts to finish their assessment on site – and stay to put right anything that needs action.

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