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Contractor fined for potential asbestos exposure

A County Durham contractor has been sentenced after illegally removing asbestos from a garage, putting himself, other workers and the householder at risk of exposure.

John Simpson, 41, of Portland Avenue, Deneside, Seaham, trading as Dun N Dusted, offered waste removal services and was paid £900 by a householder to remove asbestos from a garage under his house in Jesmond, Newcastle.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Simpson was neither qualified or licensed to remove asbestos, and that he failed to take suitable measures to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Mr Simpson was fined a total of £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,383 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

HSE inspector Sal Brecken said: “Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, with some 4,500 deaths each year caused by asbestos-related diseases, as well as many serious illnesses.

“For this reason, work with asbestos requires a high degree of regulatory control to ensure it is carried out safely. Mr Simpson decided to ignore the fact an asbestos licence was required to undertake this work and his actions not only put him at risk, but also the householder and those working alongside him.

“Full compliance with asbestos legislation, in particular licensing requirements, is absolutely essential. The HSE will continue to vigorously enforce the law to protect both workers and members of the public from exposure to this deadly substance.”

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