Asbestos removal supervisor fined for exposing workers to deadly fibres

An asbestos removal supervisor has been sentenced after admitting exposing numerous workers to deadly asbestos fibres during licensed asbestos removal works.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard that a concern was received by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claiming that Alan Burdett was allowing people into the sealed asbestos enclosure, which is designed to keep dangerous fibres from escaping and contaminating people or other areas, without any form or protective clothing or face mask.

Alan Burdett was a supervisor for Asbestos Decontamination Services Limited of Erdington, Birmingham and was engaged in large scale asbestos ceiling removal at the vacant Raleigh House, Discovery Park, and Stockport, where he was in control of a group of removal operatives on a day-to-day basis.

HSE’s investigation found that significant amount of metal framework which had supported the asbestos ceiling boards was stacked in the open building without being wrapped or sealed to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres. Alan Burdett had been filmed allowing workers to enter the asbestos enclosure without any face masks or protective clothing to prevent them being exposed to asbestos, as well as potentially releasing the deadly fibres into the main building where there were no controls to prevent exposure.

Alan Burdett of Mason Road, Erdington, pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment which was suspended for 18 months, fined £1,500.00 and was ordered to pay costs of £3,518.13

HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case:

“Alan Burdett totally failed in his duty to protect himself and his workers from a foreseeable risk of serious harm from asbestos fibres.

Although he was qualified and experienced he chose to completely ignore the risks from asbestos and in doing so has exposed several people to a risk of developing an deadly disease at some point in the future. As an asbestos supervisor he was in a trusted position and he has abused this trust.”