Man Handed Community Order for Illegal Removal of Asbestos

A Hartlepool man has been handed a community order after he admitted removing asbestos from a school when he wasn’t licenced to do so.

Sean Thomas Faulkner, 55, also intentionally falsified clearance paperwork after removing asbestos containing materials from Our Lady Lourdes School in Shotton Collery in March 2021. He carried out similar work several months earlier at a domestic property on Park Road in Middlesbrough in November 2020.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its guidance on asbestos safety and has just launched its Asbestos: Your Duty campaign that aims to improve understanding of what the legal duty to manage asbestos involves.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard that Faulkner failed to hold a licence to safely remove asbestos. He also failed to ensure a four-stage clearance was carried out on both jobs by a person accredited by an appropriate body, posing serious risk.

A HSE investigation found Faulkner had received the relevant training on how to safely remove licenced asbestos and was therefore fully aware of the legal requirement to hold a licence.

Faulkner of Berkeley Avenue, Hartlepool pleaded guilty to six charges, three charges at each offence location including contravening Regulations 8(1) and 20(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and breaching Section 33 (1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

He was given an 18-month community order, which consists of 15 days of rehabilitation, 90 days of monitored alcohol abstinence as well as him carrying out 150 hours of unpaid work. He will also pay costs of £1000.

HSE inspector Stuart Whitesmith said: “Asbestos related disease still kills around 5,000 workers each year in Great Britain. It can be present today in any building or industrial process plant built or refurbished before the year 2000.

“In this case Mr Faulkner intentionally falsified paperwork necessary to ensure the safety of both workers, other staff and vulnerable members of public.

“We will not hesitate to take action where individuals disregard health and safety law such as can be seen in this case.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Karen Park.