An experienced asbestos analyst has been fined after it was revealed he had faked an air clearance certificate, a court has found.
Barrie Lyons has worked as an analyst for 29 years. But in a recent court case, it has been revealed that in November 2015, Mr Lyons had not carried out a suitable inspection of a site or the correct amount of air sampling.
Mr Lyons was hired to carry out a final inspection and air testing at a construction site in Manchester, following the removal of asbestos, Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.
This should have included an examination of the area where asbestos had been removed from, along with checking the defined enclosure itself and the areas surrounding it.
He was also tasked with taking air samples and evaluating them to make sure the air was free of asbestos.
But a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that he hadn’t carried out the inspection or the air sampling. This was despite a report he sent to his employer and the client claiming he had.
It was judged that he had deliberately falsified his report. This led to a second clearance test being organised, which caused significant delays and expense.
Abuse of trust
HSE inspector Matthew Greenly said : “Asbestos analysts play a vital role in ensuring that areas are safe to enter after asbestos is removed. Mr Lyons sadly chose on this occasion to falsify his records which was a massive abuse of the trust placed in him by the client.
“This deliberate act increased the risk of numerous people potentially being exposed to asbestos, a risk Mr Lyons would be very well aware of from his experience, all to save a little time and finish the job early.
“It is hoped that the industry uses this case as a reminder that anyone involved in asbestos removal must do everything reasonable to protect people from a material which causes around 4000 deaths per year in the UK.”
Mr Lyons pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £2000 and ordered to pay costs of £3905.73.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 1, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown