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Unlicensed asbestos removal results in suspended jail sentence

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The public have been reminded of the importance of using licensed asbestos contractors, after a tradesman who undertook an unlicensed asbestos removal in Leeds was handed a suspended jail sentence.

Clive Raper, 49, of Fawcett Gardens, Leeds admitted a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations and a separate breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on March 20th 2015, and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

The charges related to a job at a home in Bramhope in July 2011, which involved the removal of asbestos insulating board from a garage.

Such specialist work can only be legally undertaken by a licensed asbestos contractor using the correct equipment and following strict safety guidelines.

Raper knew this, but took on the project anyway. He also hired two workers to help him, but neither of them had the required licence either.

He failed to implement the standard safety control measures needed to protect workers and the public, meaning the job was completed without the use of a protective enclosure, full-face respiratory equipment or specialist vacuums.

The poor quality of the work extended to the post-removal cleanup and the homeowner subsequently discovered asbestos debris in the garage, meaning the occupiers were at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Following a complaint by the householder to Leeds City Council, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and, after issuing a prohibition notice to prevent Raper working with asbestos insulating board and lagging, it decided to pursue a prosecution.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Yeadon described Raper’s actions as “appalling” and said his wilful disregard for asbestos regulations had put the householder and his workers at risk.

“It would appear that he has put profit ahead of the health and wellbeing of others, and in this case quite bafflingly, he put his own health at risk as well,” said Mr Yeadon.

“This kind of work must be carried out by competent people with the necessary licence to do so.”

For information about using a fully licensed asbestos removal contractor, please contact BLS Asbestos.

Published: 1st April 2015