Nottinghamshire plumber fined after putting family at risk

A Nottinghamshire plumber has been fined after putting, his son and a young family at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Dean Fisk had been employed to replace a galvanized water tank in the loft of a house in Gardendale Avenue, Clifton.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today (13 May) told Nottingham magistrates that Mr Fisk had failed to carry out an assessment to see if asbestos was present and in what form and condition.

As a result, while replacing the tank on 18 January 2012, Mr Fisk’s son, Jack, also a plumber, removed an asbestos box from around it, breaking some of the panels. HSE found he had not had any asbestos awareness training.

The loft became contaminated with potentially deadly fibres and licensed contractors had to be brought in to remove all traces of the asbestos at a cost to the home owner of £2,870. The home owner – a mother with a young son – lost a number of personal belongings including family photographs and items that had belonged to her late grandmother.

Dean Fisk, 53, of Flawforth Avenue, Ruddington, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 10(1)(a) and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £2,870 to the home owner.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:

“Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, accounting for around 4500 fatalities a year. Tradespeople working in premises likely to contain asbestos have a duty to ensure they protect themselves and members of the public from risk of exposure to this hidden killer.

“This family home would not have been contaminated if the asbestos had been identified by Dean Fisk before the work was started. Work could then have been undertaken without disturbing the asbestos or have been carried out by a suitably trained person.”

Information about working with asbestos is available at www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos