No jail for asbestos removal supervisor filmed allowing workers’ exposure (Health & Safety at work)

An experienced asbestos removal supervisor has received a suspended sentence after allowing several workers to enter a sealed enclosure without facemasks or protective clothing, an act the HSE described as an “abuse of trust”.

The HSE was tipped off after Alan Burdett, who worked for licensed contractor Asbestos Decontamination Services, from Erdington in Birmingham, was filmed letting workers into the enclosure, which is designed to stop fibres escaping.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court (above) heard that the deadly fibres could also have been released into the main building where there were no controls to prevent exposure.

Burdett was in control of a group of operatives on a day-to-day basis as they removed an asbestos ceiling at a vacant warehouse called Raleigh House, on Stockport’s Discovery Park industrial estate.

Inspectors also found that large amounts 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.

“As an asbestos supervisor he was in a trusted position and he has abused this trust.”

Burdett, of Mason Road in Erdington, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, fined £1500 and ordered to pay costs of £3518.

Inspector Matt Greenly said: “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 a deadly disease at some point in the future. As an asbestos supervisor he was in a trusted position and he has abused this trust.”

Leave a Reply