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 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, 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.”
This week HSE has launched a new campaign to remind people working in construction trades to manage the risks associated with asbestos.
Despite being banned by 1999, 5,000 people a year still die from asbestos related diseases due to the decades delay between exposure and the symptoms of disease appearing.
Asbestos didn’t disappear when it was banned in the UK and we know that it remains in millions of homes and buildings.
Asbestos exposure is still the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in Great Britain with those carrying out repairs or refurbishment work being at a higher risk of disturbing asbestos, especially when working in houses.
Builders, carpenters, electricians, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, and roofers, are just some of the trades being urged to take the risks of asbestos seriously.
The campaign, called ‘Asbestos and You,’ will target all tradespeople with a focus on younger workers in trades who have recently joined the industry. HSE particularly wants to reach those who started their careers from the year 2000, after the use of asbestos was banned so they know the risk still remains.
- Asbestos containing materials were used extensively in the construction and maintenance of buildings from the 1950s – 2000
- Asbestos is dangerous when not maintained in a safe condition or if physically disturbed without the right measures in place to avoid fibres being released into the air
- If asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening
- These diseases often take a long time to develop, and it can take 20 to 30 years for symptoms to appear
- Construction tradespeople of any age are at significant risk if they disturb materials containing asbestos during repairs and refurbishment
- Where it can’t be maintained safely in place, it must be removed.
Find out more
Visit the HSE ‘Asbestos & You’ campaign website for more information about the campaign and how you can support it. You’ll also be able to download a new ‘quick guide for trades’.
Economic inactivity has increased across all age groups in the UK – in stark contrast to other developed countries. The reasons for this are multi-factorial, but long-term sickness is a contributing factor.
Preventing fallout by supporting people to stay in work is essential, as is supporting those who have already left the workforce to return to work. Access to Occupational Health advice for those with long-term medical conditions is vital .. If YOU as an employer require help or just some free advice concerning short and long term sickness absence management our team are here to help
Contact us on 0800 193 6222 [ Press Option/Ext 2] or drop as a line email@example.com
A company has been fined after an employee became seriously ill when he contracted a blood infection while working at a lake contaminated with sewage.
He was working for Adler and Allan Ltd, a supplier of environmental risk services, during a clean-up operation at a lake near Churchbridge, Cannock, Staffordshire, in June 2019.
Dead fish had to be cleaned out of the lake after it was contaminated with sewage when a nearby pipe burst.
The employee worked at the lake for two weeks before contracting Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) and became seriously ill.
The infection led to the man having a rash across his whole body meaning he had to limit contact with his family. His kidney and liver also had to be monitored. He was given antibiotics and did not make a full recovery for around four months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was a serious risk of ill health to employees at the site as there were inadequate hygiene provisions in place to suitably guard against bacteriological and pathogen infection.
During around the first two weeks of the job, there were no on-site toilets or welfare units available to the company’s employees. This led to workers using a local supermarket to wash and go to the toilet.
There was also a lack of supervision at the site, with the company also failing to conduct a suitable risk assessment and implement an appropriate system of work.
Adler and Allan Limited of Station Parade, Harrogate, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and Regulation 20(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company were fined £126,100 and ordered to pay costs of £43,494 at Cannock Magistrates’ Court on 29 November 2022
HSE inspector Lyn Mizen said: “This serious ill health matter could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risks and dangers had been appropriately controlled and managed, right from the outset.
“Portable welfare units can be easily sourced and are clearly needed for heavily contaminated work situations such as this.
“HSE will not hesitate to hold duty holders to account if they fall short of appropriate welfare standards.”
This is an example of a lack of competent task planning and delivery .. with little attention paid to robust risk assessment .. If you need help we are here to help
A Welsh health board has been fined after three employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Powys Teaching Health Board required its employees to routinely operate handheld power tools such as lawn mowers, strimmers and hedge cutters without carrying out an assessment of the risks from exposure to vibration.
There was no monitoring, or any estimate of exposure to vibration, even though employees, particularly during the summer months, operated handheld power tools for several hours a day.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the health board had failed to properly assess the levels of exposure to its employees and that information, instruction and training given to staff was limited.
It also found that the health board had ignored requests from its own occupational health department to conduct a risk assessment.
The lack of monitoring, assessment, training, and health surveillance has allowed employees to operate handheld power tools for a significant period, in some cases several decades, without having the necessary measures in place to reduce the risk. This led to three employees being diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.
Powys Teaching Health Board of Glasbury House, Bronllys Hospital, Bronllys, Powys, Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
They were fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,599 at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2022.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Joe Boast said: “This was a case of the health board completely failing to grasp the importance of managing its staff’s exposure to vibration while using handheld power tools.
“Employers should conduct a full assessment of the vibration magnitude and exposure duration, before reviewing whether employees are at risk. There is a simple online calculator to help employers complete this process.
“If the health board had followed the free guidance, they would not have exposed employees to risk and possibly have prevented the ill health that has been suffered.”
We urge relevant organisations to considerer their own processes and ensure you have robust arrangements if you think you need help contact us on 0800 193 6222 or email
The aim of this service is to:
- Provide same-day advice to clients and their colleagues to enable management of short-term absence
- Offer client a triage/medical helpline, providing support and advice on their health condition
- Minimise absence through proactive interventions by Hawkes Health Nurses
- Provide absence and return-to-work notification reports to the employer/ HR manager/ Manger
- Provide anonymous management information on the absences reported to help understand the main issues
- Act as a deterrent to stop client employees of reporting non-genuine reasons for absence
Client employees contact the Alpha Absence helpline and report their employment details, reason for absence, work duties and return-to-work date. This is recorded on our system and can then be accessed online by client managers.
HAWKES HEALTH’s Alpha Absence mechanism is a same-day absence referral service and a fully integrated feature of our occupational health management system. The service offers support and advises managers on short-term absence and cause.
All Alpha referrals are handled by nurses who triage the call and provide advice on the symptoms effect on work and cause of the illness.
Our nurses provide advice and support to minimise the impact on the employee, providing interventions such as:
- Fast-track-a referral to physiotherapy or counselling
- Fast-track referral to our occupational health doctors
- Over-the-counter medicine advice
- Health advice on managing a condition
Alpha Absence can be provided as a standalone service or incorporated as part of a combined occupational health solution.
To find out about this service or our additional sickness absence services please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 0800 193 6222
[ Press option 5] thank you.
One of the things HAWKES HEALTH often get asked about is why we encourage working within a service agreement.
Service agreements are an important aspect of implementing an agreed OH support plan because they set out how and when you receive supports from us as your potential service provider.
So, what is a service agreement?
A service agreement is a simple, written document that explains your responsibilities and the responsibilities of a service provider.
Service agreements include the following information:
- The services and supports that will be provided
- How much the services and supports will cost
- When where and how the services to be provided
- How long our customer may need the support (s) for
- When your service agreement will be reviewed
- Our cancellation policy
- Our responsibilities to our client and your responsibilities under the agreement as the customer
Why are these agreements important?
1. Get the right support. Service agreements help ensure you get the right support.
2. Agree on actual services
They allow you to tell us as the provider what you as the customer need and agree on how services will be delivered. This can include when or how often the service will be provided.
3. Everything is in writing
Service agreements help everyone understand what they should do. By having this information in writing it’s available for future reference.
4. Your responsibilities are clear
They help you remember your responsibilities and what is expected of you. This might include things such as turning up for appointments on time or arrangements for giving notice to cancel an appointment.
5. How to end or change an agreement
Service agreements contain important information about what to do if you need to make changes or want to end the agreement. For example, how much notice is required if you want to cancel the service.
6. If you have a problem
Each service agreement includes the name and contact details of a person to talk to if you have a problem.
7. Payment for services
They explain how much services will cost and how services will be paid for, avoiding any confusion.
Food manufacturer Bernard Matthew’s has been fined £400,000 after an employee sustained a pierced left lung, several broken ribs, four fractured vertebrae and a spinal bleed after being drawn in to a large screw conveyor.
Colin Frewin was left permanently paralysed and spent six months in hospital following an incident at the company’s Suffolk manufacturing plant. He was put in an induced coma for three weeks and is now classed as a T6 paraplegic and has been diagnosed with autonomic dysreflexia (AD).
on 28 January 2020 heard how 54-year-old suffered the injuries. He’d been tasked with cleaning a large screw conveyor used to move poultry turkeys along and chill them. While working on the gantry between the spin chillers he noticed a turkey stuck at the bottom of it.
As he attempted to dislodge the turkey using a squeegee, Colin was drawn into the machine. It was only when a colleague noticed Colin was missing from the gantry and heard his cries for help, the emergency stop was pulled.
Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found an unsafe system of work meant the chillers remained running as Colin went to dislodge the turkey.
There was another incident at the same plant five months earlier, on 12 August 2019, when a turkey deboning line had to be shut down after developing a fault.
As a result, 34-year-old Adriano Gama, along with the rest of the employees, were moved to a surplus production line to continue the process.
Whilst working on the surplus production line, one of the wings became stuck in the belt under the machine. Adriano attempted to push it out of the way, but as he did do, his gloved hand became caught in the exposed sprocket of the conveyer and was drawn into the machine.
He was eventually freed and taken to hospital having suffered a broken arm and severe damage to the muscles in his forearm.
A subsequent investigation by the HSE found that on the day of the incident pre-start checks were only completed on the production lines that were regularly used.
Therefore, when workers were asked to move to the surplus deboning line there was no system in place to ensure that it was checked prior to it being put into operation.
The investigation uncovered that two safety guards had been removed and a team leader responsible for the production lines had verbally reported this issue to the engineering team, but it was not followed up by either party.
At Chelmsford Crown Court, Bernard Matthews Food Ltd admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As well as the £400,000 fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
‘Both incidents could have been avoided – the consequences were devastating for Colin in particular,’ said HSE principal inspector Adam Hills after the hearing.
‘If Bernard Matthews had acted to identify and manage the risks involved and put a safe system of work in place they could have easily been prevented.
‘Fundamentally, you should not clean a machine while it is running.
‘Companies need to ensure that risk assessments cover activities including cleaning and blockages, and that where appropriate, robust isolation and lock-off mechanisms are in place for these activities.
‘Prior to use you can put in place some pre-start checks and if faults such as missing guards are identified they need to be formally reported, tracked, rectified and closed out.’
Registered healthcare professionals, in addition to doctors, can now complete Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) medical questionnaires following notification of a medical condition that may affect an individual’s fitness to drive. Previously, only medical doctors could complete the questionnaires.
The move is intended to speed up elements of the medical licensing process while reducing the burden on doctors to complete DVLA medical questionnaires. However, it does not apply to the D4 Medical Examination Report (for bus and lorry drivers), which will still need to be completed by a doctor or consultant registered with the General Medical Council.
The change was brought in by the Legislative Reform (Provision of Information etc Relating to Disabilities) Order 2022, which amends s.94 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 on the provision of information relating to disabilities.
Hawkes Health confirm that all our medical, drug and alcohol testing certificates will now incorporate a QR code.
This will enhance security and aid the authentication of our certificates. This added protection incorporates the coding already used for our previous COVID test certification required by numerous international immigration authorities