Fine for as­bestos dis­posal mis­takes

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A HAYES heat­ing engi­neer was fined thou­sands for fail­ing to pre­vent ex­po­sure to as­bestos fi­bres, caus­ing home­own­ers to move out of their prop­erty.

Karl Locher, 48, of Minet Drive, 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.

He pleaded guilty at Traf­ford Mag­is­trates’ Court on Septem­ber 18 af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive (HSE).

Self-em­ployed Locher re­moved as­bestos-lagged pipework in a home with no pre­cau­tions to pre­vent ex­po­sure to as­bestos fi­bres, af­ter he was hired to in­stall a new heat­ing sys­tem.

He re­moved the pipes us­ing a pow­ered elec­tric saw and took it through the prop­erty to the drive­way.

The Court heard that Locher did not have any as­bestos aware­ness train­ing.

HSE told the court that if Karl Locher had been ap­pro­pri­ately trained, he would have been in a po­si­tion to recog­nise that the lag­ging may be as­bestos and 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 un­til their prop­erty was thor­oughly de­con­tam­i­nated.

A pre­vi­ous cus­tomer of Locher’s hit out at the Gas Safe Re­sister web­site, which still lists him un­der their of­fi­cial list of gas en­gi­neers who are reg­is­tered to work safely and le­gally on gas ap­pli­ances in the UK.

She said: “I can­not be­lieve rogue traders like Karl Locher are be­ing per­mit­ted to work in such a reg­u­lated industry de­spite a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion di­rectly re­lat­ing to the industry that he operates.

“Had he been a doc­tor, phar­ma­cist, lawyer or sim­i­lar pro­fes­sional he would most cer­tainly have faced a pri­son sen­tence and pub­lic cen­sure. He had worked for me also and it begs the ques­tion of how many peo­ple have al­ready been sub­jected to such dan­ger­ous work­ing prac­tices as well as po­ten­tial cus­tomers.”

A spokes­woman for Gas Safe Reg­is­ter con­firmed Karl Locher was still on their list, un­der ref­er­ence num­ber 174757.

She said: “Gas Safe Reg­is­ter do hand out sanc­tions based on the as­sess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion when it comes to gas safety.

“As­bestos will be in­cluded in the gen­eral safety, how­ever we would pros­e­cute on the gas as­pects to that.

“Karl Locher would stay on the list as he hasn’t done any­thing wrong when it comes to gas safety specif­i­cally.”

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