Company and its director prosecuted for unsafe removal of asbestos across Great Britain
An asbestos removal company has been convicted and its director given a prison sentence after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos.
Asbestos Boss Limited, also known as Asbestos Team and its director, Daniel Luke Cockcroft, advertised as a licensed asbestos removal company and removed licensable material from domestic properties throughout Great Britain.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Asbestos Boss Limited had never held a licence and their poor working practices resulted in the large scale spread of asbestos and exposure to homeowners and their families. Little to no precautions were taken by Asbestos Boss Limited and so their own workers, as well as anybody at the premises they were working on, were at serious risk of exposure to asbestos. The company and their director also breached a prohibition notice on several occasions.
At Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March, Asbestos Boss Limited of Old Gloucester Street, London was found guilty of breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They were also found guilty of one charge relating to the failure to comply with a prohibition notice at two separate addresses which prevented them from working with licensed asbestos materials. The company are awaiting sentence.
Company director Daniel Luke Cockcroft of Darnes Avenue, Halifax, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the company’s failing of regulation 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 as well as the charge for breach of a prohibition notice. He was immediately imprisoned for 6 months and ordered to pay victim compensation.
HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said: “Asbestos is a killer. Companies and their directors need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos by themselves both to their employees and others. Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained personnel who understand the risks and how to control them.
“Asbestos Boss Limited have deliberately removed a highly dangerous material resulting in a significant risk of exposure to cancer causing asbestos. They not only have put their customers at risk but have also undoubtedly put themselves, their workers, and their families at serious risk.
“By undertaking asbestos removal work himself, Mr Cockcroft has also chanced his own life, and the life of his family by working unsafely with asbestos, despite knowing full well what the risks were.
“This case should serve as a warning to any other companies who think they can make a quick profit by cutting corners and risking lives. I also hope that potential customers will be able to avoid rogue companies like Asbestos Boss by carrying out simple checks to ensure that any company they employ is legitimate and competent to prevent them and their families being put at serious risk.”
Asbestos Boss Limited and Mr Daniel Cockcroft, of Darnes Avenue, Pyenest, Halifax were also prosecuted by Stockport Trading Standards, in a jointly run case with HSE. Daniel Cockcroft and the company were both charged with fraud in relation to falsifying training certificates, a business insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos. This gave the impression that the business was credible and that workers were adequately trained and competent in relation to asbestos removal.
Daniel Cockcroft pleaded guilty to fraud and the company was also convicted. Daniel Cockcroft was sentenced to an additional 4 month in prison making a total prison term of 10 months. The company is awaiting sentence at an additional hearing
Councillor Helen Foster-Grime, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Our Trading Standards team, work closely with other agencies and will do our utmost to ensure offenders like this, who carry out work with no regard for the safety of our residents, are brought to justice.
“I am delighted that these criminals have been held to account. The message is very clear – we will not tolerate this in Stockport and will take robust action wherever possible.”