A carpenter come handyman has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after releasing deadly asbestos fibres during building work at a flat in the West Midlands.
Solihull Magistrates’ Court was told that tradesman William Rogers, from Rowlands Way, in Yardley, was refurbishing a flat in Masons Way, Olton and had removed a partition wall which contained insulating board made from asbestos.
As a result both Mr. Rogers and the flats tenant, who asked not to be named, were exposed to the potentially lethal asbestos fibres.
An investigation by the HSE revealed that Mr. Rogers had mistakenly believed he was dealing with asbestos cement, which does not require specialised removal, unfortunately this was not the case and the handyman contaminated the kitchen of the flat and the communal stairs with asbestos debris.
Mr. Rogers was fined £600 and ordered to pay court costs totalling £1,799, after he admitted a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
Speaking after the court hearing a HSE inspector stated that Mr. Rogers had gone ahead with the refurbishment project despite being informed by the flats landlord that the walls contained asbestos.
Asbestos exposure is responsible for an estimated 4,000 deaths every year, in the UK alone and remains the biggest single cause of occupational death.