Plumber fined for endangering young family

Published:  15 May, 2013

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 galvanised water tank in the loft of a house in Gardendale Avenue, Clifton.

Earlier this week, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) told Nottingham magistrates that 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, 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 homeowner of £2,870. The homeowner – a mother with a young son – lost a number of personal belongings, including family photographs and items that had belonged to her late grandmother.

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

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: "Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, accounting for around 4,500 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 carried out by a suitably trained person."

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