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Fri February 23 2024

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Rogue asbestos contractor sent to jail

16 Mar 23 A man trading as an asbestos removal contractor without a licence has been sent to prison for 10 months.

Stockport Trading Standards found no adequate controls in place on this asbestos removal contract
Stockport Trading Standards found no adequate controls in place on this asbestos removal contract

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.

However, an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company  had never held a licence and that its poor working practices resulted in the spread of asbestos and exposure to homeowners and their families.

When Asbestos Boss did a job, it took no adequate precautions, the HSE found, either for clients or employees. Anybody at the premises where they were working was at serious risk of exposure to asbestos.

In September 2021 at an address in Stockport, Asbestos Boss removed an asbestos insulating board ceiling from a domestic integral garage with little to no control measures in place. The asbestos waste was dumped at the property of the resident, littering the road and pavement with asbestos material.

At Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10th March, 27-year-old 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 sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay victim compensation.

He got an additional four months for fraud in a related prosecution brought by Stockport  Trading Standards, making a total of 10 months. He pleaded guilty to all charges – falsifying training certificates, an insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos.

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The judge said that he considered Cockcroft’s actions to be “rogue trading at its worst”.

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. It was 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 is awaiting sentence.

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.”

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