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Heating engineer fined after homeowners put at risk of 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 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 Karl Locher did not have any asbestos awareness training. HSE told the court that had Karl Locher been appropriately trained, he 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, 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 had to move out of their home pending thorough decontamination of the whole property.

Any work being carried out on a building built before 2000, that disturbs the fabric of a building, such as pipework throughout, or ceiling/wall movement requires an Asbestos Refurb survey prior to starting work.  Had this been carried out, it may have been possible to work round the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) or enable the removal to be carried out more cost effectively.

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