Head Of Training, SHP Online

February 3, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Asbestos analyst fined for falsifying documents (update)

An asbestos analyst has been fined after he falsified an asbestos air clearance certificate, following licensed asbestos removal in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Manchester and Salford Court House, heard how, on 19 November 2015, Mr Barrie Lyons, a well-trained asbestos analyst with 29 years of experience, was contracted to carry out the final inspection and air testing, following asbestos removal at a construction site in central Manchester.

Barrie-Lyons2
Mr Lyons’ task included a thorough examination of the area where asbestos had been removed from, within the defined enclosure itself and the areas surrounding it. He also had a series of air samples to collect and evaluate, to ensure that the air was substantially free of asbestos.

“This deliberate act increased the risk of numerous people potentially being exposed to asbestos, a risk Mr Lyons would be very well aware of from his experience, all to save a little time and finish the job early.

“It is hoped that the industry uses this case as a reminder that anyone involved in asbestos removal must do everything reasonable to protect people from a material which causes around 4000 deaths per year in the UK.”

Mr Barrie Lyons, of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £2000 and ordered to pay costs of £3905.73

Update:

Many readers had questions concerning this case that were put to the HSE inspector by SHP. The answers are below.

Was this a one off incident or was he a serial ‘falsifier’?

Mr Lyons had no previous history of falsifying documents that could be found or any HSE intervention against him as an individual.

So if you are procuring asbestos services and the surveyor has a great deal of experience and qualifications how do you know that they are actually doing what you pay them to do? Do you rely on the employer doing random spot checks and re-surveying to pick this up?

Asbestos surveyors and their companies are highly trained to standards laid down by the British Occupational Hygiene Society and UKAS and also have to work to the standards laid out in HSE guidance HSG264 which details how to assess the competency of asbestos surveyors in section 2. HSE would not expect someone to randomly resurvey a site/building in order to check the competence of the first surveyor. We would expect any prospective customer to satisfy themselves that their chosen surveyor is suitably qualified as we would anyone employing a specialist contractor, competence should always be established so far as is reasonably practicable. If a survey company can demonstrate accreditation to UKAS, BOHS or similar then they should be competent to do a thorough job.

Does an asbestos surveyor employed by a company even require a licence to operate?

Asbestos surveyors do not require a licence to operate as the action of sampling for asbestos is classed as low intensity and sporadic work. (see HSG264, paragraph 16)

Was his license revoked?

Mr Lyons never had or needed an asbestos license so nothing has been or can be revoked. He is now working for another company as an asbestos analyst who are fully aware of this case.

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

Related Topics

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon Joyston-Bechal
Simon Joyston-Bechal
3 years ago

This is an interesting case and a sentence that, fortunately for My Lyons, seems to be more lenient than expected under the sentencing guidelines. Culpability would have been assessed as very high because this appears to have been accepted to have been an intentional breach or flagrant disregard for the law. The harm category would have been at least 3 (low likelihood of death) but then because multiple people were exposed to the risk, the Judge was obliged to consider moving up to harm category 2 or moving up within the category range. Even with credit for a guilty plea,… Read more »

Douglas Porter
Douglas Porter
3 years ago

Was his license revoked?

Lisa B
Lisa B
3 years ago

This article is on the HSE website and has appeared on numerous other reporting websites. However there is no mention of why he did it, how it came to light, who his employer was and whether any prosecution has been made against them (unless it hasn’t come to Court yet). These are all the questions I have from this article. Was this a one off incident or was he a serial ‘falsifier’?? So if you are procuring asbestos services and the surveyor has a great deal of experience and qualifications how do you know that they are actually doing what… Read more »

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa B

Excellent points and exactly my thoughts. Does an asbestos surveyor employed by a company even require a licence to operate?

Paul S
Paul S
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa B

1. He did because he want to finish work earlier.
2. Why the company deserve a prosecution?
3. The article gives all the answers you need to know.

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
3 years ago

Although this report has disappeared off the main page there has still been no update as promised by Lauren, which is disappointing?

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
3 years ago

Thank you Lauren for the update. Interesting that the asbestos analyst does not require a licence to operate because sampling is classed as low intensity and sporadic work – does not make any sense to me. The analyst’s work may be low risk for him personally, however the work of sampling for ACMs surely could not be regarded as low risk to others. The HSE were quick to support the health and safety practitioners register (OSHCR) which has become a predictable white elephant – talk about double standards! It’s a shame this article has dropped off the main page as… Read more »

Safetylady
Safetylady
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Rapp

Good point well made Ray.

Lisa B
Lisa B
3 years ago

Thanks for the update Lauren, much appreciated.

Topics: