Builder prosecuted after unsafe asbestos removal puts employees at risk

Kieran Lynch has been prosecuted in relation to an incident that saw his employees come into contact with asbestos during the refurbishment of domestic premises in Reading.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Lynch, trading as Lynch and Co, was contracted to undertake a large scale refurbishment for his client who had recently bought the property in Barnsdale Road from their local council.

Before the project started, the property’s owner had told Mr Lynch that asbestos was present within the ceiling boards in the garage.

Builder prosecuted after unsafe asbestos removal puts employees at risk 1

What occurred at the property that exposed workers to asbestos?

Mr Lynch instructed two employees, who had never previously carried out asbestos removal operations, to take down the boards without any protective measures in place.

After removing the boards, the workers stored them inside the property for an additional three months, prior to them being moved again into the front garden for disposal.

Later scrutiny of these boards, however, revealed that they were Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) – a high-risk product, the removal of which requires an asbestos removal licence.

Serious failures in the handling of this dangerous substance

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation, and discovered that Mr Lynch had been alerted to the presence of asbestos in the house. However, despite this, he did not make adequate enquiries as to the location, type or condition of the asbestos, before having the removal undertaken.

It was also found that Mr Lynch had instructed his employees, who lacked the required competence to carry out this work, to remove the potentially lethal material without any control measures having been implemented.

Mr Kieran Lynch, of Emmer Green, Reading, admitted guilt to breaching Regulations 5 (1)(a), 8(1), and 11 (11) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. In addition, he received a Community Order for a 12-month period, with a Rehabilitation Requirement of 25 days and Unpaid Work of 100 hours. My Lynch was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000, and a victim surcharge of £95.

“Adequate steps must be taken to find out if asbestos is present”

HSE inspector David Tonge stated after the hearing: “Refurbishment work, even in domestic premises, is liable to expose people to asbestos and adequate steps must be taken to find out if asbestos is present. If so, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure people are not exposed to asbestos fibres.”

Here at Oracle Solutions, we are committed to assisting commercial clients’ efforts to ensure they deal with any asbestos present on their premises in the safest possible way, in accordance with the relevant regulations. Please feel free to contact us today for your free and fast asbestos quote.