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Heating engineer fined after asbestos exposure

A self-employed heating engineer has been fined after removing asbestos lagged pipework in a domestic property with no precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres.

Karl Locher, 48, of Minet Drive, Heyes, Middlesex pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Mr Locher was employed to install a new heating system in the domestic property. He removed the redundant pipework that was lagged with asbestos, using a powered electric saw. He then transported the pipework through the property and deposited it outside on the drive.

The Court heard that Mr Locher did not have any asbestos awareness training. HSE told the court that had he been appropriately trained, Mr Locher would have been in a position to recognise that the lagging may be asbestos. He would have known to avoid any work until it had been demonstrated as asbestos free or been removed by a licensed contractor.

Instead, Mr Locher removed the pipes with no precautions to prevent his own exposure to asbestos fibres, and the potential for other persons to be exposed.

The homeowners have moved out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the property.

Mr Locher 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.

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