Asbestos hbeThe owner of a Leeds based Asbestos removal company has been given a suspended jail sentence after exposing a household and workers to potentially dangerous levels of asbestos fibres at a home in Bramhope.

The owner trading as Bramley Asbestos Removals, took on a job to remove asbestos insulating board from the garage of residential property despite the fact that he did not hold the legal licence required to carry out the specialist work.

He hired a couple of workers to help him but failed to take any of the vital safety measures needed, or implement the tight controls imposed by law, to protect his workers, the local people and the environment when working with the material.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company owner for safety breaches at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. The court was told that the business owner accepted the job from the house owners with the full knowledge that he didn’t have the necessary licence to undertake the work. He then took on a couple of labourers to help him, neither of whom held licences.

The owner had not used any of the standard control measures that licensed operators employ, such as a protective enclosure, full-face respiratory equipment, negative pressure units and specialist vacuums. The poor standards used meant that asbestos debris and residue was left, compounding the risk of exposure to the home-owners.

The home-owner was so concerned with the debris that had been left, he contacted Leeds City Council. They identified a suitable contractor who went to the home and carried out an environmental clean of the property, at additional cost to the home-owner. The council also reported the matter to HSE.

The owner was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay a contribution of £260 toward costs, after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and a separate breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.