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Contractors fined for carrying out unsafe asbestos removal work without a licence

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Two contractors were sentenced today after removing asbestos pipe lagging without taking the necessary precautions to reduce exposure to asbestos.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how the two contractors were carrying out refurbishment work at a residential property in Hamsterley, County Durham.  Having removed the ceiling in back room on the first floor of the property, the contractors discovered pipework running along the length of the roof space, wrapped in lagging. Samples taken of the lagging confirmed it contained asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, between 10 June 2016 and 12 July 2016, the two contractors removed the lagging, despite knowing it contained asbestos.  Neither contractor held a licence to undertake this type of work nor did they have the necessary training.

The investigation also found the asbestos removal was carried out without the required measures in place to reduce exposure to asbestos, thereby putting themselves and the house owner at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Brian Michael John Barry, of Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £576 and ordered to pay costs of £847 costs.

 David Jonathan Storey of Prudhoe, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £692 and ordered to pay costs of £844.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Robbins said “Asbestos is responsible for the premature deaths of approximately 5,000 workers each year.

“In this case, it was foreseeable that, in the absence of measures to reduce asbestos fibres becoming airborne during removal of the pipe lagging, that people were at risk of being exposed to them. It was reasonably practicable for the work to have been removed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor under fully controlled condition thus reducing the risk of exposure to asbestos.

“Our website and other publications clearly state that asbestos pipe lagging should only be removed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor, by trained asbestos operatives, and under fully controlled conditions to reduce exposure to asbestos.”

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