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Worker who exposed himself to asbestos "beggars belief"
Published:  22 May, 2014

A supervisor in charge of removing asbestos from a Canterbury school boiler house has been prosecuted after he recklessly exposed himself to the dangerous material.

Jack Conn was spotted working unprotected at the site at Canterbury Academy in Knight Avenue on 30 May 2013 by an inspector from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). He was not wearing his essential respiratory mask and the hood of his protective overalls was down. A second worker was seen removing the asbestos materials with the correct personal protective equipment in use.

HSE told the court that Mr Conn later admitted his respiratory equipment was with him on the floor, and that he was aware of the risks and the duty to wear it. He also confirmed he had undertaken the training to be a supervisor.

Mr Conn was fined £1,000 with £1,500 towards costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“It really does beggar belief that a trained supervisor with a licensed company, fully aware of the very real dangers associated with exposure to asbestos, could then casually disregard those dangers and work in a contaminated environment,” said HSE inspector Nicola Wellard after the case.

“Jack Conn, as supervisor, should have been setting a high standard to other employees and being seen to take seriously the precautions necessary to control the risks to himself and others. It was an obviously flagrant and deliberate breach. I hope he will not come to regret it in years ahead.”

A Suffolk-based building contractor has also been prosecuted recently for exposing its workers to asbestos.