Asbestos pair lied over school clear-up work

Grant Prior 11 years ago
Share

An asbestos analyst and a removal specialist have been fined for falsifying records claiming that a school in Abingdon had been properly cleaned of asbestos.

The “unusual fraud” was confirmed by detective work by one of the men’s employers using GPS tracking technology on the employee’s company van.

The deception by the two men was uncovered after an engineer went to Our Lady’s Abingdon school to start plumbing work but could see that asbestos material had been left, putting him and others at risk of exposure to dangerous fibres.

He reported it to the Health and Safety Executive which investigated and brought a prosecution against both men.

Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard that Richard (Ricky) Gray, an asbestos analyst, of Hoddesdon, Herts, and David Gray (no relation), of Botley, Oxford, a supervisor for a licensed asbestos contractor, had committed the offence on Sunday 25 July 2010, probably just to escape a few hours’ work.

HSE found David Gray’s employer, Maylarch Environmental Ltd, had been hired to carry out an environmental clean of the area affected by asbestos between 21 and 25 July.

Ricky Gray’s employer, environmental consultants Tersus Ltd, had been contracted to provide a final independent assessment of the clean-up on 25 July, which is required for all asbestos removal work.

On 27 July, H&E Engineers from Oxford arrived at the school to carry out boiler work.

Supervisor Trevor Benfield was immediately concerned that asbestos materials had been left in a poor condition and alerted HSE.

During the investigation HSE discovered that Tersus had believed their assessment had been properly signed-off as it had a report from employee Ricky Gray. However, when told of the conditions found at the school, it carried out its own internal investigation.

Tersus used GPS tracking and found that Ricky Gray’s van had been driven to a service station at Junction 8 on the M40 and back to his home address on 25 July – not to the school site where the assessment was due to take place.

He later admitted he had met David Gray there and together they had fabricated the clearance report to make it look as though the assessment had been carried out.

Ricky Gray of Hoddesdon, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs; and David Gray of Botley, was fined £1,000 with £250 costs after both pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Moore said: “This was an unusual fraud, the first of its type that I am aware of. It was only detected thanks to Mr Benfield’s knowledge and perseverance, and the use of GPS technology.

“It was also a serious fraud as it may have exposed other workers coming on to the school site to the very real dangers of inhalation of asbestos fibres.

“I can only have an educated guess at what motivated these two to collude in this fashion. For Ricky Gray, it was his last day at the company and it was a Sunday.

“For David Gray it was perhaps also the temptation of finishing work early as contractors have to wait for analysts to finish their assessment on site – and stay to put right anything that needs action.”

 

Latest news

Bid rigging: Keltbray to appeal and so could Squibb

Both contractors "disappointed" with level of fines
17 hours ago

Ten demolition firms fined £60m for bid rigging

Full details of fines with Erith and Keltbray hardest hit
2 days ago

Retail contractor J M Scully files administration notice

£23m turnover Dorset based contractor lodges court notice
18 hours ago

Civils specialist M Lambe delivers record performance

Housing civils specialist seeks to diversify in face of challenging housing market
17 hours ago

Willmott Dixon clinches £60m Oxford Brookes University job

Preparation work starts on two new buildings at Headington Hill campus
18 hours ago

Ferns seals £50m+ Openreach network services deal

Five-year south west deal to provide civils, poling and complex manhole programme
18 hours ago

20 firms win £4.5bn Southern construction framework

A dozen new firms secure spots on fifth generation public sector deal
2 days ago

Call grows for bolder 18m second staircase rule for flats

Architects, surveyors and builders professional trade bodies demand lower height threshold than proposed 30m
2 days ago

GRS Roadstone warns staff following cyber attack

Materials giant sends out letters highlighting the extent of the attack
2 days ago

Inland Homes to suspend shares as results delayed again

Auditors need more time to go through embattled house builder's books
2 days ago

Kier wins £73m Southport events centre job

Local supply chain set to benefit from major new project
2 days ago

Multiplex profit rebounds as margin restored to 2.9%

London tower builder predicts return to revenue growth this year as major schemes advance
2 days ago

Upbeat Vistry to re-open mothballed offsite factory

Former Countryside timber panel factories rebranded Vistry Works in revived drive to deliver 5,000 units a year
3 days ago

Builder crushed and blinded in wall collapse

Property owner in court after barn conversion goes horribly wrong
2 days ago

Keltbray bags £140m haul of energy infrastructure work

Specialist secures trio of power frameworks, two battery storage facilities and an energy from waste package
3 days ago

Government awards £1.8bn for energy retrofit schemes – list

Housing and public building decarbonising funds awards to support 20,000 construction jobs
3 days ago

Landmark London scheme switches from flats to student rooms

Regal London rethinks Old Kent Road scheme with 900 student rooms and 220 affordable homes
3 days ago

Align reveals designs for final portal of HS2 tunnel

Contractor confirms how final key structure on project will look
3 days ago

Plans in for 1.4m sq ft of industrial space at Fiddlers Ferry

Peel NRE to appoint demolition contractors for coal-fired power station in weeks
3 days ago

Tilbury Douglas to replace hospital hit by weak concrete

Stoke-on-Trent outpatients building containing Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete to be replaced
4 days ago

Derby picked as destination for Great British Railways HQ

Public vote secures Derby's bid to be nerve centre of the rail industry
4 days ago

London tower over historic Leadenhall market approved

Building work to start in 2025 on 32-storey tower by historic city market
4 days ago

PfH starts race for £520m housing decarbonising deal

Four-year framework covers service specific lots from £5m to £100m
4 days ago

“Rock solid” balance sheet and record results for Henry Boot

Firm sees early signs of recovery this year in core markets
4 days ago

£200m Edinburgh Haymarket office and hotel approved

Haymarket Yards scheme to move to construction in 2024
4 days ago

Countryside closes deal for £80m build to rent homes

Deal with private rental developer Sigma to speed up delivery at two sites
4 days ago

Wates commercial director joins Caddick

Neil Trubshaw one of a string of appointments as contractor looks to expand across the north
4 days ago

Fusion21 names 16 winners for £125m painting framework

Latest deal will last four-years for public sector clients
4 days ago

Watkin Jones breaks ground on Cardiff 700 flats scheme

Largest build-to-rent scheme in Wales gets underway
5 days ago

Green light for Birmingham 540-bed student scheme

Work to start on Gough Street student tower this summer
5 days ago

Contractor services