Lee Yarnall came to Hong Kong from London in 1992 to work as a building materials inspection consultant for Hong Kong Housing Authority. Following the completion of the project, Hong Kong revised more stringent asbestos controls.
Since the early 80s, public awareness about the dangers of asbestos has increased tremendously. Labour organizations went on strike to protest the use of asbestos. Lee Yarnall sees the changing attitudes towards asbestos, and recognizing an opportunity, formally establishes ASPEC (HK) Limited in 1997.
Aspec provides a full range of asbestos consultancy services that meet the Hong Kong Air Pollution Control Ordinance requirements.
The asbestos consultancy team has over 90 man-years experience working with asbestos, both on the project management side and as laboratory analysts. The team contains two HK Environmental Protection Department (EPD) registered asbestos consultants.
Their work includes identifying asbestos-containing materials, producing survey and abatement reports, and supervising asbestos removal work.
On the project management side, their scope includes tendering, vetting of contractors, appointment, liaison with Environmental Protection agencies, Labour Department agencies, and other Government bodies concerned.
Responsibilities outweigh fears
The World Health Organization has listed asbestos as a “Class I Carcinogen,” meaning it is dangerous and hazardous. Lee’s biggest challenge is having to wear hot and uncomfortable protective equipment to carry out their work. Lee believes that errors may occur in such conditions, so he requires an independent third-party examination. This usually involves detailed visual inspections accompanied by air testing to ensure that’s everything is OK. Also, the asbestos laboratory testing procedures and techniques are required to be very rigorous.
He mentioned that asbestos-related diseases could take over 20 years to occur. So, ASPEC must store all documents and records for a long time. Building owners wish to keep such records confidential to avoid causing unnecessary panic. Therefore, the storage and confidentiality of papers is also a significant challenge for ASPEC. Lee Yarnall realized that the company needed a professional storage solution so that the confidential documents could be stored securely and for long periods. So he turned to Cube Self Storage. With 24 hours climate control, round-the-clock CCTV, and door card access system provided by Cube, he does not need to worry about the risks.
“We love our job because it takes us everywhere.” Lee Yarnall said.
It’s a challenging job, and over the years, they’ve been to all sorts of places and buildings to carry out tests. They tested everything, from pigsties to billionaire mansions, from old steam locomotives to posh new trains, visiting oil rigs in a helicopter to inspecting a Maserati supercar. Working in Hong Kong’s old villages and temples and even using drones to carry out aerial inspections are some of Lee’s fondest memories. However, working in hospital autopsy and abattoirs are some experiences that he would like to forget.
Lee Yarnall says that it’s nerve-wracking for him when people find out that they have been exposed to asbestos. But once the problem is solved, everyone is reassured. “It’s a relief,” he said. He has always put people’s safety first.
“It’s truly a job for life” he said.
ASPEC has always had asbestos removal as its primary objective and has provided innovative solutions to various complex tasks. Asbestos has been used extensively as a building material in the past. Many objects and buildings need to be tested and identified. When asbestos is found, it must be treated and removed. Lee Yarnall said this is their life’s work. The greatest hope of ASPEC is to reduce their own and clients’ liabilities by making the right decisions daily through their professional conduct and experience.
For more information or assistance from ASPEC, please visit the ASPEC website or call (852) 3101 0671.
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