Asbestos awareness training could have saved workman from £5k fine

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A lack of appropriate asbestos awareness training has led to a self-employed heating engineer being fined £5,000 for the unsafe removal of asbestos lagged pipework.

Karl Locher, of Hayes, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Trafford Magistrates’ Court, following an investigation into a job he undertook at a domestic property.

He had been employed to install a new heating system, which involved the removal of some redundant pipework.

Unaware that the pipework was lagged with asbestos, he cut through it with an electric saw and then carried it through the home to the drive, where it was left.

This was done without any safety measures being taken to protect himself, the householder or the general public from being exposed to asbestos fibres. As a result, the homeowner had to move out to allow a proper decontamination to be carried out.

A subsequent Health and Safety Executive investigation concluded that because Mr Locher had not received proper asbestos awareness training, he had not realised that the lagging may be asbestos.

Had he been aware of that, he would have known that he could not work on the pipes until it had been established that they were asbestos free or until the lagging had been removed by a licensed asbestos contractor.

BLS Asbestos runs asbestos awareness training courses for tradesmen and other contractors at its head office in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

For information about our introductory and refresher asbestos awareness courses, call us on 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.

Published: 24th September 2015