Legal Experts Call For Care To Be Taken In Removal Of Material
Care must be taken to ensure a Leicester school contaminated by asbestos following a fire is completely safe before pupils and staff return to the site, according to asbestos-related illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.
The gym and classrooms at Catherine Junior School in the Belgrave area of the city were seriously damaged in the blaze last week, resulting in harmful asbestos being released into the air.
Council officials confirmed that the asbestos contamination was confined to the interior of the building, where the damage of the roof was most severe and part of the structure had collapsed. They have stated that the site will now need to be decontaminated before any assessment of the structural damage can be taken.
The 380 pupils evacuated from the school will eventually have to go to other schools in the area for lessons. The local authority is also contacting parents of pupils to update them on developments, while it is also making payments to parents whose children lost items of clothing in the fire.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist asbestos lawyers have vast experience in acting for people exposed to the material, including those who came into contact with the fibres during work or while attending schools as pupils or employees.
Adrian Budgen, national head of asbestos litigation at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We have long-held concerns over asbestos in schools and the risks that it could pose to people of all ages who regularly visit such sites.
“It is very positive to see that the presence of the material has been identified early on, but it is now vital that its removal and work to ensure the site is safe is undertaken in a delicate and thorough manner which meets all of the necessary safety regulations.”
Adrian added that concerns over asbestos levels at Cwmcarn School in Caerphilly had put the spotlight on this issue in recent months.
He explained: “Authorities in Wales have taken steps to get updates from all schools in relation to asbestos across Wales and we think this should be repeated in the rest of the UK.
“Many parents may not even be aware of asbestos in schools and the potential dangers, so it is vital more is done to ensure that everyone is better informed on this issue.”