Fine imposed due to garage landlord’s asbestos failings

The proprietor of a set of lock-up garages in Leicestershire has been sentenced for an asbestos-related offence.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Paul Whitaker carried out work in March and April 2016 that caused asbestos to be spread across a number of domestic gardens in Wigston.

Mr Whitaker’s use of a powered jet-wash to clean asbestos cement roof sheets resulted in the dislodging of the potentially lethal fibres from the roofs and their distribution across the gardens, the garage units themselves, and nearby Network Rail land.

As a consequence, members of the public were put at risk of coming into direct contact with asbestos fibres, which are a Class 1 carcinogen.

A risk that could have been easily reduced or eliminated

In its investigation of the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that basic precautions should have been implemented as part of the planning for the work, as covered in published and widely recognised guidance for working with asbestos cement.

Much of the risk associated with the operation could have been eliminated through the use of low-energy cleaning methods and proper protective measures to prevent the release of asbestos fibres.

Mr Whitaker – of Sandford Road, Syston – pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was hit with a £600 fine and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £10,000.

HSE inspector Roy Poulter commented after the hearing: “Asbestos cement roof sheets require as careful management as any other asbestos product.”

Ask the Oracle Solutions team if you have any questions about asbestos management

Whatever your qualifications or experience and whatever building you are working on, you should always be mindful of the potential risks of asbestos.

If you are unsure of the right steps to take, don’t hesitate to contact the Oracle Solutions team today to receive free and impartial expert advice from one of our experienced asbestos consultants or asbestos surveyors.