Asbestos: Think carefully before signing on the dotted line

You need to think carefully about asbestos

A BUILDER who lied to his customers about his asbestos industry credentials has been forced to pay back the thousands of pounds.

According to the Environment Agency, Lee Charles used false paperwork to convince customers he was legitimate and had the qualifications necessary to remove asbestos and store it safely.

In reality, Charles had no legal qualifications, no permit from the Environment Agency and had been storing asbestos hired in storage containers 200 metres from a school.

A court has now decided that Charles must pay more than £82,000 as part of a proceeds of crime order.

Paul Salter, an environmental waste crime officer for the Environment Agency said: “Lee Charles’ crimes were not just illegal, but dangerous. He has been ordered to pay back the money and this send out a clear message to others who flout the law that waste crime doesn’t pay.

“Not only do we use environmental law to prosecute offenders, but use the proceeds of crime to ensure criminals are deprived of the benefits of their illegal activity.”

This latest, high-profile case highlights and echoes what we’ve been saying for a while – always check any preferred management company or surveyor you employ has the right paperwork and qualifications before you sign on the dotted line.

Not doing so could be catastrophic.

What you need to know

The costs of not employing the right people are high.

Not only could it cost you thousands of pounds, it could also cost you your health.

Asbestos is a highly toxic material, which was banned in the UK in 1999. It should only ever be handled by people with the right qualifications, training and experience.

At Acorn Analytical Services you can rest assured that with decades of experience between us, we have the right credentials.

We are backed by UKAS and our asbestos consultants are all fully-trained by UKATA. We are also members of industry leaders Constructionline, CHAS, Atac and Safe Contractor.

Asbestos is our business and we are a trusted partner to SMEs and charities right across the UK.

In 2022 alone, we carried out 6,869 surveys, completed 11,292 projects and processed more than 6,902 samples in our in-house laboratory.

With offices in Northampton, Cleckheaton, London and now Wolverhampton we are perfectly placed to support you and your business with all your asbestos needs.

The dangers of asbestos

Not handling asbestos correctly could expose yourself and those around you to mesothelioma – a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

It affects more than 2,500 people every year in the UK and around 80% of those are men – typically men who have worked in the construction industry in roles such as engineering, plumbing and carpentry.

According to Mesothelioma UK symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, a cough, sweating, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue. There is no effective treatment, there is no cure.

Checking for the presence of asbestos in buildings built before 1999 is essential, and a survey – conducted by a trained asbestos professional such as the team at Acorn Analytical Services – is the only way to do it safely.

To find out more about the work we do visit our website at www.acorn-as.com or call us on 0844 818 0895.

Acorn is a professional consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance and health and safety using surveysair testing, and removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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