£2k fine for asbestos exposure

08 Nov 2011

A handyman who failed to take precautions when working with asbestos has been fined for exposing himself and a tenant to the dangerous fibres.

William Rogers, a carpenter and general handyman, of Rowlands Way, Yardley, Birmingham, was refurbishing a kitchen at a flat when he spread asbestos debris in the kitchen and communal stairs.

He had mistakenly assumed he was faced with asbestos cement when he removed partition walls containing asbestos insulating board at the premises in Masons Way, Olton, Solihull on January 27, 2011. Asbestos cement does not demand that specialist contractors remove it.

But instead of checking that this was the case, he went ahead with the work. In fact by law the material he was working with should have been disposed of by an approved carrier of asbestos waste.

Mr Rogers was fined £600 and ordered to pay £1,799 costs for exposing both himself and the tenant, who wished to remain anonymous, to asbestos dust. The area and his car later had to be decontaminated, as he loaded the pieces of asbestos into it.

The error only came to light after a licensed asbestos removal contractor, who happened to be working elsewhere in the building, saw pieces of asbestos outside and contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Mr Rogers pleaded guilty at Solihull Magistrates' Court to breaching Regulation 5 and Regulation 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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