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A gas engineer from Devon put himself and others at risk from exposure to asbestos fibres when he removed potentially dangerous asbestos material while replacing a boiler. The tenants of the property were concerned when they saw that the man had disturbed the old asbestos insulation board surrounding the old boiler and brought this to his attention, however he continued to remove the material; bagging it and removing it from the property and storing it at his yard.

During a court hearing it was disclosed that the engineer had used no protective clothing or protective breathing equipment while removing the material. Not only disregarding his own safety, he also failed to use any safety measures to prevent the spread of the fibres. The HSE inspector said of the situation: “This negligence could result in serious health effects to both him and anyone else who may have come into contact with the asbestos material that he disturbed, Given his vast experience as a gas engineer he should have realised that there is a very good chance that a 30 year old gas boiler could be insulated with asbestos insulation board but he made no checks before working around the material. He then compounded matters by ignoring concerns raised by the tenants that the material he had disturbed was asbestos and carried on removing the material. Tradesmen should always be aware that asbestos can be found in any residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

Fibres released when asbestos is disturbed are incredibly small and can become lodged within the lungs, causing potential for the development of lung cancer and Mesothelioma later in life. There are clear guidelines for the safe handling of asbestos, more details can be found be found on the HSE website.

If you, or someone you care for has been affected by asbestos you should contact your doctor straight away. If you feel that you were exposed to the fibres during your employment, you might be entitled to claim for compensation. Our solicitors have been dealing with these kinds of cases for many years and so are particularly familiar with the law surrounding this issue. This means that they are best placed to help you with your enquiry and quickly let you know whether or not you can make a claim. Contact us today to see how we can help.