A self-employed heating engineer exposed himself and others to asbestos fibres, a court has heard.
Karl Locher, 48, removed asbestos-lagged pipework while installing a new heating system in a domestic property with no precautions in place to prevent exposure, putting his health and that of the homeowners at risk.
He was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and pleaded guilty to safety breaches at Trafford Magistrates’ Court.
No awareness training
Using a powered electric saw, Mr Locher removed the redundant pipework that was lagged with asbestos. He then transported the pipework through the property and deposited it outside on the drive.
But the HSE discovered the engineer did not have any asbestos awareness training. Had he been appropriately trained, the HSE says he would have been in a position to recognise that the lagging may be asbestos.
As a result of his actions, the homeowners have had to move out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the property.
Karl Locher pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was subsequently fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
Dangers of asbestos
Asbestos exposure can have devastating consequences, even leading to death in some cases.
One of the main dangers associated with exposure to asbestos fibres is mesothelioma. It is a severe lung condition that sees tumours form in the lining of the lung, which can be quite hard to detect as symptoms can seem quite mild.
The cancer can take 20 to 50 years to develop, while the number of people affected by it still rising and is expected to peak this year.
If you have had any exposure to asbestos in the past, either from working with the material or living in a building where it is present, it is recommended that you visit your doctor as soon as possible for a check-up.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 28, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown