Unlicensed Asbestos Removal Company Fined and Director Jailed
AN UNLICENSED ASBESTOS REMOVAL COMPANY has been fined £80,000 for failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from a property in Stockport.
This follows the sentencing of the company’s director last month.
In September 2021, a joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Stockport Trading Standards revealed Asbestos Boss Limited removed an asbestos insulating board ceiling from a domestic integral garage at an address in Stockport with little to no control measures in place. The asbestos waste was then dumped at the property of the resident, littering the road and pavement with asbestos material.
Asbestos Boss Limited and its director/manager, Daniel Luke Cockcroft, advertised as a licensed asbestos removal company and removed licensable material from domestic properties.
The investigation revealed a number of similar cases of licensed work being done across the country. There were little to no precautions taken and so their own workers, as well as anybody at the premises they were working on, were at serious risk of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Boss Limited was also found to have provided fake air test certificates and waste transfer notes to customers and had falsified asbestos training certificates and insurance documents. The company and Daniel Cockcroft also breached a prohibition notice on several occasions.
The additional sites identified by Stockport Trading Standards proved that Asbestos Boss had breached the Prohibition Notice and caused additional spread and exposure. One such case was the removal of asbestos insulating board from 20 service cupboards which Asbestos Boss charged £3,000 for their illegal work. The work was of such poor quality, it has resulted in the site owners receiving remedial quotes from licensed contractors in the region of £50-£64,000 to make them safe.
At Manchester Magistrate’s Court on 10 March, company director Daniel Luke Cockcroft of Darnes Avenue, Halifax, pleaded guilty to all charges and was immediately imprisoned for 10 months. He was also ordered to pay victim compensation.
Company Fined £80,000
At the same hearing in March, Asbestos Boss Limited of Old Gloucester Street, London was found guilty of breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The company was also found guilty of one charge relating to the failure to comply with a prohibition notice at two separate addresses which prevented it from working with licensed asbestos materials. The company was also sentenced in relation to its conviction for fraud in relation to falsifying training certificates, a business insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos. This gave the impression that the business was credible and that workers were adequately trained and competent in relation to asbestos removal.
In the sentencing hearing held on 12 April, the company failed to attend or offer any mitigation and was sentenced to pay a fine of £80,000 as well as compensating the victims for the full costs of the work paid for at the time. This combined compensation order totalled around £10,000.
HSE Inspector, Matt Greenly, said: “Asbestos is a killer. Companies and their directors need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos by themselves both to their employees and others. Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained personnel who understand the risks and how to control them.
“Asbestos Boss Limited have deliberately removed a highly dangerous material resulting in a significant risk of exposure to cancer causing asbestos. They not only have put their customers at risk but have also undoubtedly put themselves, their workers, and their families at serious risk.
“In sentencing the company to such a large fine, Judge Begley said that a message needed to be sent out to anyone who involves themselves in this sort of a scam. The Judge went on to say that Asbestos Boss is a scam operator and has duped a number of people, placing them at risk from the scourge of asbestos.”
Guidance on safely working with asbestos can be found here.
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