Kesgrave roofer fined £12k after workers and Martlesham family exposed to asbestos

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street.

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A roofer from Kesgrave has been fined £12,000 after workers and residents were exposed to asbestos fibres during a repair project.

Employees working for David Cummings, of Cummings Flat Roofing, disturbed an insulation board while carrying out repairs to a porch at a home in Martlesham last August.

However Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday that Cummings, from Kesgrave, had not arranged an asbestos survey to be carried out despite the homeowner telling him he believed the material was there.

The court was told by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutors that as a result employees were potentially exposed to the hazardous fibres.

In addition workers did not remove the asbestos insulation board appropriately, causing a significant amount of the board to break and heavily contaminate the garden with asbestos fibres – which could then have been carried into the family’s home.

Cummins was fined £12,000, ordered to pay £1,200 costs and a £120 victim surcharge after admitting three breaches of asbestos regulations.

HSE inspector David King, speaking after the hearing, said: “Exposure to asbestos fibres is a serious and well-known health risk, so it is essential duty-holders take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent the disturbance, spread and exposure to asbestos.

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“Guidance on managing the risks of asbestos is widely and freely available.

“Therefore failing to take action to identify asbestos while planning work, to ensure contractors who may disturb asbestos are aware of the location and type of asbestos present and take appropriate measures to protect the health of others, is absolutely not excusable.”

Around 4,500 people die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres, which can lead to cancer or other diseases, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.