Schools 'Not Managing Asbestos'

Asbestos Lawyer Speaks Out On Dangers To Teachers, Staff And Pupils

22.02.2010

Pupils and teachers must receive protection from deadly asbestos in schools, most of which are not managing the substance effectively or safely, a survey has concluded.

The study made an initial sample of 16 schools of which none were found to fully comply with Health and Safety Executive guidance. Just four were reported as having an adequate standard of asbestos management.

The schools in the report, called Assessment of Asbestos Management in Schools, agreed to be inspected on being contacted by their authorities.

Asbestos management systems in most schools were ineffective and sometimes dangerous, said the report by the Asbestos Testing and Consultancy Association.

A spokesman for the HSE said: "We will meet with ATAC to discuss the findings of their work and ensure that action has been taken to manage the asbestos in the 16 schools they visited."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Adrian Budgen who heads up the asbestos related disease team at Irwin Mitchell said: “We are seeing an increasing number of teachers, school staff and even pupils who have contracted mesothelioma from very low levels of exposure to asbestos in schools as well as a the workmen who were responsible for putting the asbestos in originally.

“These statistics that were produced following a review of 16 schools are a cause for serious concern and we have to find a practical way forward that ensures the safety of pupils and staff alike in schools where asbestos is present.

“The removal of all asbestos must be the ultimate goal, but we must be realistic and recognise it cannot be achieved overnight.

“In the first instance we call for a comprehensive audit of the extent, type and condition of asbestos in schools, and the standards of management to be carried out so that an assessment of the risk to those who go there to learn and teach can be made.”