INTEGRITY OF ASBESTOS ANALYSIS IS CRUCIAL

15 February 2017

A recent legal case brought by the HSE highlights the importance of professionalism and trusted corporate reputation in the key area of asbestos air monitoring.

 

The case involves the recent censure of an asbestos analyst who was fined after he falsified an asbestos air clearance certificate following licensed asbestos removal work in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that the analyst was contracted to carry out a final inspection and air testing following asbestos removal at a construction site in the centre of the city.

The task involved a thorough examination of the area from where asbestos had been removed including from within the defined work enclosure itself and the areas surrounding it. This involved a series of air samples being collected and evaluated to ensure that the air was substantially free of asbestos.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the analyst had failed to carry out a suitable inspection of the site and had not carried out the correct amount of air sampling, despite his report to his employer and the client indicating that he had.

In effect, the report had been deliberately falsified and the published results could no longer be relied upon. The asbestos removal contractor had no option but to have a second clearance test carried out which incurred significant delays and additional expense.

HSE inspector Matthew Greenly said after the hearing: “Asbestos analysts play a vital role in ensuring that areas are safe to enter after asbestos is removed. This deliberate act increased the risk of numerous people potentially being exposed to asbestos, a risk the provider would be very well aware of from his experience, all to save a little time and finish the job early.

“It is hoped that the industry uses this case as a reminder that anyone involved in asbestos removal must do everything reasonable to protect people from a material which causes around 4000 deaths per year in the UK.”

Taking up this latter point, the views of the HSE were supported by the UKAS accredited Lucion Environmental, an established and highly respected provider of asbestos surveying and analytical services.

Lucion's Commercial Director, David Cooper said:

“Cases like this highlight the crucial role of integrity and reputation, and of using suppliers that can be trusted to deliver a wholly professional service.

“All health and safety matters require honesty and professional commitment — and this is especially the case with those situations involving potential asbestos contamination.

“UKAS accreditation is clearly essential, but on its own it is not enough and must be supported by the highest professional standards.

“As an independent company with no links to licensed asbestos removal contractors we are able to ensure the delivery of impartial, trusted inspection and testing services to our clients across the world.

“In this respect we fully understand the importance of trustworthy and loyal relationships and it is this approach that has enabled us to work repeatedly with many valued clients over a long period of time.”

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