Company director fined after falsifying asbestos documents

A company director has received a £5,000 fine for falsifying asbestos removal documents while his firm worked on a block of flats in Brighton.

Reliable Insulations & Fibre Control Ltd had been hired to remove asbestos at Abbotts Apartments, on King Street.

The company’s director James Pett, 72, created a fraudulent document claiming a 4-stage clearance had been completed on 26 September 2021.

A 4-stage clearance is a certificate required by law to ensure asbestos removal work has been completed safely.

The asbestos removal work at the site was running behind schedule. Instead of using an independent company to check the works and that the site was safe to reoccupy, Pett decided to falsify the clearance certificate.

‘A reckless act’

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Pett had used a previous authentic test certificate to create a fraudulent document to deceive other parties into believing that the 4-stage clearance had been completed, allowing further maintenance work to continue in the basement.

Pett, of Avenue Road, Erith, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined £5,000 at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on 18 January 2024.

HSE inspector Russell Beckett said: “This was a reckless act by the director of a company whose sole job was to safely remove asbestos. Instead, he decided to deceive to try to speed up a job. 

“Companies who are licensed to remove asbestos by the HSE are fully aware of risks associated with asbestos and the need to follow all precautions necessary to make sure areas where asbestos has been removed are safe for reoccupation, and this includes a 4-stage clearance test by an independent company.”

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  1. Obviously just read the news article so I do not know the full details: However my question is considering the possible implications for others, why not a £20,000 fine and jail sentence?

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