A man has been prosecuted after adopting a “reckless” approach to workplace health and safety when removing asbestos from a school.
Jack Conn was working as an on-site supervisor at Canterbury Academy in Knight Avenue on 30 May 2013 when he exposed himself to the potentially dangerous material.
Health and safety put at risk
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector noticed he was working without the required safety protection alongside a colleague who was using the appropriate protective equipment.
Mr Conn was spotted without wearing his essential respiratory mask and with the hood of his protective overalls down, while walking around inside the sealed enclosure.
Upon arrival at the site, the HSE Inspector noted that thorough and correct preparations had been put in place, Canterbury Magistrates’ Court was told on 20 May 2014.
There was a fenced-off site compound with restricted access warning signs, a decontamination unit with three separate cleaning areas and there was a three-stage air lock to the sealed boiler house.
Asbestos respiratory equipment not in use
The inspector went to the basement as she was looking for the person in charge of the operation and at this point she was able to see what was happening in the sealed enclosure via a CCTV screen.
After observing Mr Conn without his respiratory protection in place she attempted to shout to him through an air lock, but to no avail.
The inspector then phoned the Medway firm he was working for to tell them to get him out of the enclosure.
In the meantime she filmed some footage of the CCTV monitor until Mr Conn was contacted and told to leave the enclosure.
HSE told the court that Mr Conn subsequently admitted his respiratory equipment was with him in the enclosure, but on the floor and he understood his duty to wear it and the risks associated with not doing so.
Mr Conn also confirmed he had been given training to be a supervisor.
Jack Conn, 23, of Brissenden Close, Upnor, in Rochester, Kent, admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 towards costs.