Asbestos exposed family may claim compensation

Asbestos exposed family may start legal action

Two self-employed builders that were contracted to refit a garage could face civil legal action from homeowners after a family was exposed to asbestos.

Harnek Ram and Gulzar Singh, who traded as G Builders, were tasked with transforming a car garage into a bedroom and bathroom for a family that had received a lump sum from Birmingham City Council to turn the room living facility for a disabled relative.

However, before this could be done, health and safety inspectors from the local government took a sample of insulation from the property and found it contained asbestos.

When the council workers went to the house to inform G Builders it could not start the work without a permit they discovered Mr Ram and Mr Singh had already begun breaking up contaminated boards.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found neither of the two construction employees had a licence to deal with asbestos and they put the family at serious risk of harm by doing the project without proper training.

Because of these failings not only were people in the house put at risk of developing mesothelioma - a deadly disease caused by inhalation of the carcinogen - but Mr Ram and Singh also put themselves in harm's way.

A subsequent clean-up operation by Birmingham City Council cost taxpayers £6,500.

Mr Harnek Ram and Mr Gulzar Singh pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were each told to pay £3,200 in fines and costs.

HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: "Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma, which is always fatal, and other life-threatening conditions. More than 4,000 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases.

"An estimated 70 per cent of properties contain asbestos. It is illegal to undertake any work which will disturb the fabric of the building without carrying out and obtaining the results of an asbestos survey."

Posted by Chris Stevenson