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Safety fears over asbestos in schools

by Access Legal

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With asbestos believed to be present in around 75% of Britain's schools, there's concern over whether it's being properly managed, following a survey undertaken by the Asbestos Training and Consultancy Association (Atac).

Atac surveyed 16 schools and found none of them were meeting health and safety rules on managing the substance; while in more than half the schools visited the asbestos had been damaged.

Asbestos only creates a risk when it is disturbed, causing asbestos fibres to become airborne. It may become disturbed when maintenance and refurbishment work is carried out, because for many years asbestos was used for fireproofing and wall insulation.

The Government's policy is for schools to leave asbestos in place and to manage it rather than remove it, but the recent survey suggests many schools lack the resources to manage it safely.

With 178 teachers already reported to have lost their life to mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, this is not an issue that can be ignored if we're to ensure the safety of teachers and pupils in school.

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