APHC Issues a Warning About the Dangers of Working With Asbestos

Asbestos lagged pipework

Posted on 14th October, 2015

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has issued a new warning for members about the dangers of working with Asbestos following the prosecution of a heating engineer for removing asbestos with no precautions.

Karl Locher, a self employed heating engineer was fined after working with asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres. Karl was installing a new heating system in a private home. He used an electric saw to cut away old redundant pipework lagged with asbestos and carried the waste out through the house to deposit it on the drive. It transpired Karl had no asbestos awareness training and he pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 with £3,000 costs. at Trafford Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

Karl should have had appropriate training about working with asbestos, then he would have recognised that the lagging may contain asbestos. He would have known to avoid any work until it had been demonstrated as asbestos free or been removed by a licensed contractor. The homeowners have had to move out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the property.

Chief Executive at APHC, John Thompson commented,

HSE’s recent prosecution of a heating engineer for putting homeowners at risk of asbestos exposure is a powerful reminder to members of the plumbing and heating industry of the importance of following all necessary safety precautions when working with this dangerous substance. There are still a lot of myths relating to asbestos exposure, such as the commonly held belief that drinking a glass of water or opening a window will protect you from its dangers. As such, it’s essential that workers coming into contact with asbestos make it a priority to consult a reputable source such as their trade association or HSE, in order to learn the correct working procedures and keep the public safe.

For more information on working with asbestos safely, and being asbestos aware see our recent post on Finding Asbestos.

Northern Insulation Contractors are specialists in Asbestos Removal and Abatement, Thermal Insulation and Specialist Coatings. However large or small your project please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your specific requirements. We operate throughout the North of England including Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and our home ground in Cheshire. 

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