Lawyer’s Plea For More Action On Asbestos In Schools

Expert Calls For More To Be Done To Tackle Issue

25.06.2012

Legal experts representing victims and the families of those whose lives have been affected by asbestos-related disease have repeated calls for the presence of the deadly material in schools across the UK to be urgently tackled.

Over the past five years asbestos related disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have been instructed on five claims against County Councils in the North East and Cumbria for teachers who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The firm also represents a number of former teachers, school workers and pupils diagnosed with mesothelioma across the country.

A report earlier this year by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health estimated that asbestos is present in more than 75 per cent of the country’s schools and described the issue as a “national scandal”.

The Group recommended that a scheme is launched to remove the material under safe conditions and proposals that parents, teachers and staff are given regular updates about asbestos in their schools to raise awareness of the dangers it can pose. Regular inspections related to the management of asbestos should also be undertaken, it has been suggested.

Roger Maddocks, an expert in asbestos related disease at Irwin Mitchell, welcomed the scheme but said more must be done to prevent further illness. He said: “Mesothelioma has been linked to industrial exposure for a long time but in recent years we have been instructed by an increasing number of people who have been exposed to asbestos in schools and other public buildings.

“We have campaigned for a long time for more to be done to address the presence of dangerous asbestos in schools but we are still waiting for a serious commitment to be made to tackle the problem. It is estimated that more than 140 teachers have died from mesothelioma in the past ten years which should be more than enough proof that urgent action is needed.

“A systematic plan to safely remove asbestos in schools is not such a tall order bearing in mind the dangers, while the parliamentary group’s suggestion of regular updates on the presence and management of the substance will keep school users informed and fully aware of the risks.

“Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive and incurable cancer and it causes a great deal of suffering to those affected by it. For decades the risks of asbestos were not recognised by most employers, putting very many people in danger and leading to a lot of unnecessary deaths. Now, we are fully aware of the dangers and there is no excuse for failing to protect people from such an obvious hazard.”

Our expert mesothelioma lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.