A Webster, Massachusetts man was found guilty this week not only of illegal asbestos removal practices, but also endangering the welfare of a teenage boy who was hired to help on a 2008 job site that contained large amounts of asbestos.
According to court documents, 43-year-old Daniel Watterson, a plumbing and heating contractor, failed to take the proper procedures before starting an asbestos abatement project in which he was hired to remove the insulation from and demolish boilers in a Westchester neighborhood.
According to state law, all asbestos contractors must first contact the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), in writing, to obtain approval for any asbestos projects. Watterson, who operated under three different business names, made no attempt to notify MassDEP before starting the project.
In addition, a minor was hired by Watterson to help remove the asbestos, yet wasn’t given any protective gear nor notified of the dangers of working around asbestos. Per the state attorney’s office, Watterson did not instruct the teenager on the basics of asbestos removal. The teen failed to wet the asbestos materials before its removal and roughly ripped it out of the boilers and pipes, using putty knives.
The minor also used a sledgehammer and a saw to destroy the boilers, which still contained significant amounts of asbestos. He then followed orders to throw away the asbestos in a trash dumpster rented by Watterson.
Per the state attorney’s office, this is the first asbestos-related case which used the state’s child endangerment law.
Watterson’s conviction followed an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, a multi-agency group supervised by the state attorney general.and other senior officials. The Strike Force carries out investigations and prosecutions of persons and/or companies that commit environmental crimes.
In August 2013, Watterson was found guilty of larceny after charging senior citizens excessive amounts for unsatisfactory services, as well as charging their credit cards without their permission. This week, more convictions were added to his record when he was found guilty of one count of child endangerment and one count of failing to properly abate asbestos.
Watterson worked under several different company names, including:
- Dan the Heating Man
- The Clog Specialist
- DW Plumbing & Heating
Watterson is due in the Worcester Superior Court on July 3 for sentencing.
If you or a loved one have been affected by asbestos due to the irresponsible behavior of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more. An experienced asbestos lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and assist you with your case. For a free case consultation, contact our leading asbestos law firm.