The proprietor of a set of lock up garages in Wigston, Leicestershire has been sentenced for asbestos related offences.

In March and April 2016, Paul Whitaker used a powered jet-wash to clean asbestos cement roof sheets, which spread the asbestos over a number of domestic gardens. The power of the water jet caused asbestos to be dislodges from the roofs, and spread across the gardens, the garages themselves, and nearby Network Rail land. This put members of the public at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres – a Class 1 carcinogen.

An investigation by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) found that work should not have been planned to include the use of basic precautions as detailed in published and widely recognised guidance for working with asbestos. Low energy cleaning methods and proper protective measures would have prevented the release of asbestos fibres thus eliminating much of the risk.

Paul Whitaker of Sandford Road, Syston, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £10,000 of prosecution costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Roy Poulter commented, “Asbestos cement roofing sheets requires as careful management as any other asbestos product”.

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