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Two workmen conspired together to commit fraud by falsifying a record stating that a school in Abingdon had been properly cleaned of asbestos, when really they had gone home. Richard (Ricky) Gray, an asbestos analyst from Hoddesdon, Herts, and David Gray (no relation), a supervisor for a licensed asbestos contractor from Botley, Oxford pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and were fined a total of £5, 000 plus court costs.
The deception came to light when an engineer arrived at Our Lady’s Abingdon School to start plumbing work. He immediately saw that asbestos containing material had been left, putting him and others at risk of exposure to dangerous fibres and reported the situation to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The fraud was eventually uncovered after one of the workman’s employers used their GPS technology to track the employee’s company vans route and timescales
The HSE’s investigation found that David Gray’s employer, Maylarch Environmental Ltd, had been hired to carry out an environmental clean of the area affected by asbestos between 21 and 25 July. Ricky Gray’s employer, environmental consultants Tersus Ltd, had been contracted to provide a final independent assessment of the clean-up on 25 July, which is required for all asbestos removal work.
The investigation highlighted that Tersus Ltd had believed the assessment had been properly signed-off as they had a report from employee Ricky Gray in their possession. However, when told of the conditions found at the school, it carried out its own internal investigation which found that Ricky Gray’s van had been driven to a service station at Junction 8 on the M40 and back to his home address on 25 July and not to the school site where the assessment was due to take place.
It was reported that Richard Gray finally admitted that he had met David Gray at the service station and together they had fabricated the clearance report to make it look as though the assessment had been carried out. Ricky Gray, of Taverners Way, Hoddesdon, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs; and David Gray of Arthray Road, Botley, was fined £1,000 with £250 costs after both pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
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