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Nottinghamshire plumber fined after putting family at risk

Date:
13 May 2013

A Nottinghamshire plumber has been fined after putting, his son and a young family at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Dean Fisk had been employed to replace a galvanized water tank in the loft of a house in Gardendale Avenue, Clifton.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today (13 May) told Nottingham magistrates that Mr Fisk had failed to carry out an assessment to see if asbestos was present and in what form and condition.

As a result, while replacing the tank on 18 January 2012, Mr Fisk’s son, Jack, also a plumber, removed an asbestos box from around it, breaking some of the panels. HSE found he had not had any asbestos awareness training.

The loft became contaminated with potentially deadly fibres and licensed contractors had to be brought in to remove all traces of the asbestos at a cost to the home owner of £2,870. The home owner – a mother with a young son – lost a number of personal belongings including family photographs and items that had belonged to her late grandmother.

Dean Fisk, 53, of Flawforth Avenue, Ruddington, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 10(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £2,870 to the home owner.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:

“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, accounting for around 4500 fatalities a year. Tradespeople working in premises likely to contain asbestos have a duty to ensure they protect themselves and members of the public from risk of exposure to this hidden killer.

“This family home would not have been contaminated if the asbestos had been identified by Dean Fisk before the work was started. Work could then have been undertaken without disturbing the asbestos or have been carried out by a suitably trained person.”

Information about working with asbestos is available at www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 10(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 states: Every employer shall ensure that adequate information, instruction and training is given to those of his employees who are or who are liable to be exposed to asbestos, or who supervise such employees, so that they are aware of—
    1. the properties of asbestos and its effects on health, including its interaction with smoking,
    2. the types of products or materials likely to contain asbestos,
    3. the operations which could result in asbestos exposure and the importance of preventive controls to minimise exposure,
    4. safe work practices, control measures, and protective equipment,
    5. the purpose, choice, limitations, proper use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment,
    6. emergency procedures,
    7. hygiene requirements,
    8. decontamination procedures,
    9. waste handling procedures,
    10. medical examination requirements, and
    11. the control limit and the need for air monitoring,in order to safeguard themselves and other employees.
  3. Regulation 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 states: “Every employer shall prevent or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduce to the lowest level reasonably practicable the spread of asbestos from any place where work under his control is carried out.”

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