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CONTRACTOR CLAIMED TO HOLD ASBESTOS LICENSE

Asbestos insulation board removal put workers and public at risk

John Simpson (T/A Dun N Dusted) has been sentenced after removing asbestos from a garage and putting himself, other workers and the householder at risk in April 2013.

Mr Simpson provided waste removal services and was paid £900 by a householder to remove asbestos from a garage under his house in Newcastle. He told the home owner he was licensed to remove asbestos when he did not hold a license.

Working alone inside the garage and wearing paper overalls and a face mask, Mr Simpson spent most of the afternoon taking down the asbestos insulating board ceiling using a hammer and chisel. Two other men then helped to bag the asbestos debris and loaded some 20 bags into Mr Simpson’s van.

Newcastle Magistrates heard (27 Nov) that HSE found that:

  • License – Mr Simpson was neither qualified or licensed to remove asbestos;
  • Spread – he failed to take suitable measures to prevent the spread of asbestos;
  • Control – debris was cleared up using a brush and a domestic vacuum cleaner;
  • Notification – the work was not notified to HSE; and
  • Assessment – the type of asbestos was not identified.

Finally, a written plan of work was not prepared and the equipment and clothing he used did not offer adequate protection from exposure.

No air sampling had been carried out and Mr Simpson did not produce a certificate for reoccupation once the work was complete.

Custodial sentence was “strongly considered”

John Simpson, 41, of Seaham was fined a total of £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,383 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Sal Brecken said:

“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with some 4,500 deaths each year due to asbestos-related diseases, as well as many serious illnesses.

For this reason, work with asbestos requires a high degree of regulatory control to ensure it is carried out safely. Mr Simpson decided to ignore the fact an asbestos license was required to undertake this work and his actions not only put him at risk, but also the householder and those working alongside him.

Full compliance with asbestos legislation, in particular licensing requirements, is absolutely essential. HSE will continue to vigorously enforce the law to protect both workers and members of the public from exposure to this deadly substance.

When sentencing Mr Simpson, the magistrates said they considered this breach very serious and a custodial sentence was strongly considered but due to it being his first health and safety offence they decided to deal with it by way of a fine.”

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