A Leeds trader has been handed a suspended jail sentence after grossly failing to follow even the simplest of health and safety regulations.
The 49 year old male had been hired to eradicate asbestos in the domestic garage of a local couple. Despite not having any of the necessary credentials or licenses to undertake the job, he continued regardless and can count himself lucky that no harm was done to the inhabitants or himself.
After realising the extent of the job, the man decided to hire an extra two workers, neither of whom had the necessary experience or accreditation either. The extent of his negligence was staggering: no control measures were in place; the procedure was not in a protective enclosure; no respiratory equipment was made available and there were no specialist vacuums present.
The trader had done such a poor job of the task at hand that the homeowners were in fact more in danger than they were prior to his hiring. Asbestos debris and residue was left over from the procedure, making the couple more likely to be exposed to the harmful carcinogen than before.
Once the job had been “completed”, the homeowners realised that everything wasn’t quite as it should be if it was done professionally. They were so concerned about the aftermath that they contacted Leeds City Council who then referred them to a specialist. Although the removal was finally completed properly, it only accrued more costs for the couple.
Following on from the affair in 2011, the trader was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations. He was sentenced to eight months in prison which has been suspended for a year and ordered to pay £260 in compensation.
After the verdict, HSE inspector Paul Yeadon said:
“It is appalling that a trader who is fully familiar with the restrictions governing asbestos wilfully ignores them and puts a household and the workers he has hired in danger. It would appear that he has put profit ahead of the health and wellbeing of others, and in this case quite bafflingly, he put his own health at risk as well.
“This kind of work must be carried out by competent people with the necessary licence to do so.”