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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Children and Teachers at Risk from Asbestos in UK Schools

Over the last few years there have been plenty of news stories claiming that 9 out of 10 schools in the UK were built using asbestos, and warning that we are still putting our children at risk of long term illness. Various government reviews and guidelines have suggested that unless asbestos is disturbed, it is safe to leave it sealed away.

However asbestos in all its forms is highly dangerous, and there is no safe dose. While asbestos lurks in our schools and other public buildings it continues to pose a risk if disturbed accidentally or for example by flood, fire, vandalism or unwittingly. As well as disturbing sites through maintenance or repair, making holes in it or even simply hitting it could release potentially lethal fibres into the air.

The Teaching Unions consider that total removal of asbestos is the best option in spite of the government message that providing asbestos is sealed away it is not harmful.

All schools should have asbestos management procedures in place and should have carried out an asbestos survey and keep records of historic surveys.

However the campaigners at “Asbestos in Schools” have shown that even schools that had substantial amounts of asbestos in them were not aware of their asbestos management obligations until comparatively recently. Many contained asbestos that was in a dangerous state of disrepair or had been disturbed.

The Asbestos in Schools Group was formed in 2009 by individuals and organisations who are concerned about the problem of asbestos in schools and wanted to work together to find solutions. The group has been set up under the auspices of the all party parliamentary group on health and safety and amongst its members and supporters are MPs, Asbestos Consultants Associations, the six teaching Trade Unions, the three support staff Unions, the Independent Schools Bursars Association, the Hazards Organisation, members of the medical profession, solicitors, asbestos experts, the Asbestos Victims Forum and individuals directly affected by asbestos in schools.

For further information about asbestos in schools visit their web site at .

We support a worldwide ban on asbestos and asbestos products. If you think that any of these issues have affected you or your family please call Simpson Millar on 0808 129 3320 for friendly legal advice.


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