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HOUSEHOLDERS WARNED OF ASBESTOS REMOVAL RISK

Unlicensed ‘rubbish’ clearance contractor removed AIB

Rubbish Taxi (Dean Callaghan T/A) has been been fined for exposing the residents of a house in London, himself and his assistant to asbestos containing materials in December 2014.

Westminster Magistrates heard how the owner of a house in Putney was upgrading the central heating system when his plumbers identified that the boiler cupboard may contain asbestos. The owner contacted Dean Callaghan (after searching the website Checkatrade for asbestos removal companies) and Mr Callaghan removed the cupboard assisted by another worker.

During that day the homeowner witnessed panels of asbestos containing material (ACM) being carried down four flights of stairs. These panels were not bagged or wrapped, potentially spreading asbestos through the house. After the work was completed, he discovered dust and debris left in the loft area.

He contacted an asbestos surveying company who sampled this material and found the loft to be widely contaminated with asbestos. The samples indicated that the material removed was probably asbestos insulation board (AIB). The homeowner had ultimately to engage a licensed asbestos contractor to carry out an environmental clean of the loft area in his home to remove all asbestos debris.

Bigger killer than our roads

HSE investigators found that Dean Callaghan removed some 8m² of (AIB) despite not holding a license granted by the HSE, although he had attended a training course for low risk, non-licensable work with asbestos.

Dean Callaghan, of Esher, Surrey was fined a total of £2,500, with costs of £701 after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Loraine Charles said:

“The dangers associated with exposure to asbestos are widely known. Asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers in Britain each year; this is greater than the number of people killed on our roads. Dean Callaghan carried out work which was liable to, and did in fact expose himself, his co-worker and the members of this household to asbestos.

Any work that disturbs asbestos is potentially extremely dangerous. It is important that householders recognise that any significant asbestos removal work in their homes must only be carried out by licensed contractors, and that unlicensed operators do not put themselves and others at risk by carrying out work beyond their capabilities.”

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