A recent news story detailed how a man named John Simpson was fined for illegally removing asbestos from a homeowner’s garage ceiling in High Heaton. Simpson, who works in waste removal, had claimed that he held a licence to remove asbestos, a lie that resulted in him failing to adhere to the strictly defined safety measures designed to prevent the asbestos from becoming airborne. He charged £900 for the process when it would normally cost £3000 and as a result, he put himself, his co-workers and the homeowner at risk.
Asbestos awareness is a serious issue. It is an extremely hazardous material that must be dealt with the utmost caution and care at all times. The material is still one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry and has been linked to various fatal illnesses, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis; in fact any building built before the 1980s is at risk of containing asbestos and more hazardous materials. In the Simpson case, he disrupted the asbestos insulation in the garage and caused the fibres to become airborne and then inhaled. The story described that Simpson’s method of asbestos removal involved sweeping it up with a brush and vacuum cleaner before bagging it up and loading it onto his van.
The process of asbestos removal is much more detailed and complex, involving a great deal of paperwork and itemising in order to ensure everything is safe and secure. Simpson failed to carry out any of these steps; he did not carry out a risk assessment or prepare a plan of work and list of used equipment. He and his workers also did not enter a decontamination unit after the work was completed, meaning that when they left the home they risked spreading the airborne fibres further.
What does a story like this tell us about asbestos removal? It tells us that proper removal is vital for the wellbeing of everyone. Homeowners and those that regularly access public buildings such as universities should be aware of asbestos and its potential impact on the environment and the public exposed to it. If you ever suspect that your home or any building that you use contains hazardous materials then it’s vital that you seek out the help of experts in the field. Don’t put your trust in just anyone for the sake of paying less money; removing asbestos in buildings safely is expensive and difficult work, but it’s infinitely safer for both the public and the environment. Health and safety offences like the one committed by John Simpson is one that can be easily avoided.
Instead of relying on shady contractors with questionable qualifications, it’s important that you seek out the experts and follow all the necessary steps to the letter. Lucion Environmental is a hazard management consultancy that works with organisations across the country in order to safely remove asbestos from buildings of all kinds, including schools and hospitals. One of their consultants will come to the property for an assessment, and once the hazardous materials have been identified they can then begin the process of removal.