March 19, 2019

It’s a tough job…but asbestos removal is booming for Daniel

It’s a tough job…but asbestos removal is booming for Daniel

Echo: “Enough work for a lifetime” – Daniel Frost in the mock asbestos enclosure

“Enough work for a lifetime” – Daniel Frost in the mock asbestos enclosure

The presence of asbestos in a building may be bad news for those who live or work there, but this killer material does have one positive aspect.

Asbestos removal is a good source of employment in south Essex, providing one of the most secure and recession-proof of jobs.

So much asbestos remains on sites around the UK that, by one estimate, it will take at least 300 years to remove it all, at the current rate.

“So there will be enough work around to see out my lifetime,” says Daniel Frost.

He is director of the Canvey based eBrit Services, one of the largest and fastest growing asbestos removal specialists in the south of England.

Founded in 2011 by Daniel and a partner (a labour supply specialist) in West London, eBrit started with one van and two site men from Canvey.

Three years later, it has grown to employ 70 on-site staff and 17 staff in the Canvey base.

The fleet now numbers 29 vehicles. Turnover has increased from £1.5million in the first year to £13million today.

Daniel worked his way to the position of company director from the ground upwards. After leaving the Army, he spent years as a hands-on asbestos remover, before setting up in business for himself.

“Asbestos removal had never occurred to me as a way of making a living,” he said.

“I was laying some blocks outside an office in Basildon, and the company bosses spotted me out of the window, and how hard I was working – although, after the Army, it didn’t seem particularly like hard work. They called me up and asked if I would like a job.”

The basics of asbestos removal involve dampening the substance down, and creating a negative pressure, so the lethal asbestos dust and fibres are not released into the air.

Only then is it is safe to handle and remove. They are trucked to one of a number of specialist asbestos sites around southern Britain.

The removal operation is conducted within an airtight plastic enclosure, equipped with a pump and extractor. The makeshift tent is first tested with smoke to ensure that it is air-tight.

“You find that the preparation can often take four hours, and the actual removal just a couple of hours,” says Daniel.

To work on site, an asbestos remover needs to be physically fit, with good lung capacity.

“Obviously, a responsible attitude is particularly important,” says Daniel. Asbestos-busters also need to have a face that fits.

“If someone has, say, a broken jaw, it could mean that the respirator won’t fit him properly.”

Initial training takes three days, before a novice operator starts on his first job.

“They start on less challenging tasks, like asbestos cement, which is present in a lot of buildings right here on the Charfleets estate,” says Daniel, pointing out of the window. Once assessed as capable, they are released to more dangerous sites.

“We have specialist operators in areas, such as working at height, rope access and first aid.”

Asbestos operatives make good money. At the basic level, they can earn £120 to £140 a day, while supervisors earn anything up to £1,000 a week. The pay scales, and the job security he offers, mean Daniel has no shortage of people who approach him for a job.

“Often the best guys are people like bricklayers who are used to conditions on a site, and used to hard work,” says Daniel.

One source remains elusive, however. There are no women in eBrit’s on-site team. “It’s not that we have anything against employing them, and we’ve had a few applications,” says Daniel. “But when they learn what’s involved, they don’t seem to follow it up.”

From:

It’s a tough job…but asbestos removal is booming for Daniel

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