• Robert Spicer

Asbestos exposure: prison sentence

Asbestos exposure: prison sentence

Health and Safety Executive v Brian Roberts (2015) Llandudno magistrates’ court, June 12

Brian Roberts, a builder, has been sentenced to imprisonment for exposing workers to asbestos.

Significant points of the case

  • Roberts was engaged to remove asbestos from a commercial unit on an industrial estate in Colwyn Bay.

  • He removed asbestos insulating board (AIB) from the unit despite not holding a licence to work with this material.

  • The HSE was alerted to the unlicensed work by a licensed contractor.

  • Roberts and three men working with him were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Roberts received a 26 weeks custodial sentence for a breach of regulation 8(1), Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, for undertaking work with asbestos without a licence.

An HSE inspector is reported to have made the following comments after the case:

  • Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Its safe removal requires a high level of skill and technical knowledge.

  • The outcome of the exposure in this case could not easily be assessed. Those involved now have to live with the fear of becoming ill with life-threatening lung disease.

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