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Asbestos pair lied over school clear-up work

An asbestos analyst and a removal specialist have been fined for falsifying records claiming that a school in Abingdon had been properly cleaned of asbestos.

The "unusual fraud" was confirmed by detective work by one of the men's employers using GPS tracking technology on the employee's company van.

The deception by the two men, probably just to escape a few hours' work, was uncovered after an engineer went to Our Lady's Abingdon school to start plumbing work but could see that asbestos material had been left, putting him and others at risk of exposure to dangerous fibres.

Supervisor Trevor Benfield was immediately concerned that asbestos materials had been left in a poor condition and alerted HSE.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Moore said: "This was an unusual fraud, the first of its type that I am aware of. It was only detected thanks to Mr Benfield's knowledge and perseverance, and the use of GPS technology.

"It was also a serious fraud as it may have exposed other workers coming on to the school site to the very real dangers of inhalation of asbestos fibres.

"I can only have an educated guess at what motivated these two to collude in this fashion. For Ricky Gray, it was his last day at the company and it was a Sunday.

"For David Gray it was perhaps also the temptation of finishing work early as contractors have to wait for analysts to finish their assessment on site - and stay to put right anything that needs action."

 

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