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Help With Asbestos Boards Disturbed by Plumber in Airing Cupboard

Postby Matty-p » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:06 pm

Hello newbie here. My mother in law recently had a plumber come to her house. The plumber in question couldn’t come so sent a colleague who it appears isn’t registered (we found this out later). The job in question required the plumber to remove a box surrounding the flue to the boiler. The chap came in an started pulling the boards off with one snapping in the airing cupboard. It transpires these were asbestos boards. The guy didn’t clean up, wear any ppe and stuck the board in a black bag. Out of concern I got an professional in who did the tests, confirmed asbestos and helped clear up. She’s had to get rid of everything in the cupboard, her hoover and is now an emotional wreck. To add the work is unfinished. Two asbestos boards still present. My question what can I do/should I do about the plumber, getting so compensation for the hoover and the cost of getting additional people out. Is this within my rights?? My mother in law is more crazy than ever now. Need to resolve this ASAP. Help please.
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Postby ericmark » Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:45 pm

As far as I am aware the building owner or manager should inform any tradesman of any asbestos in the building before work starts, if the asbestos was not on the asbestos register then the tradesman can claim off the building owner or manager even 25 years latter, so if it were me, I would be rather edgy about raising the issue for fear of claims.

As a foreman working in BT buildings asbestos was a nightmare, if found we would be stopped working, and it all had to be cleared out, in some cases it was not even asbestos and it was tempting to say nothing until finished as it caused so much disruption.

It is claimed to be safe if painted and undisturbed, but once painted it is hard to recognise. So we would get a warning ceiling panels are asbestos and it was clear they were new and the old asbestos had been replaced, and no warning of asbestos in corridor fire walls and doors which was full of asbestos.

Since when young I worked as a mechanic and we would blow out the brake drums, I must have been exposed, so over my life there are many employers who have caused me to be exposed, so hard to pin it to one, younger people however can pin it to one employer far easier.

So I would say the cost of a hoover is tip of the iceberg, I would thank your lucky stars you got away so light, yes insurance may cover, but do you really want to make an official body aware of what has happened and risk future court cases?

It was only banned in 1999, there were still some types used until that date, 1985 blue was banned, and changes in 1992. The 2006 act also set maximum exposure limits and demanded that anyone who was at risk of encountering asbestos on the job is trained in the proper handling of the material. However you need to show there was a known risk of the worker encountering asbestos, I think it is unlikely you can do that.

As to not being authorised to do the work, as an electrician also have the problem with Part P and it is not easy, the scheme providers will take people to court who claim they are members but are not, however I told the council I was taking over a job when what I thought were registered tradesmen walked off, only to find they were not, and to be frank I wish I had kept my mouth shut, the building inspector was considering if the floor needed digging up.

I would buy her a new hoover and crack on you got it free even if you have paid for it, and prey it all is forgotten about.
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