Safety precautions have been put in place at King Richard III Infant School in Leicester, after damaged ceiling tiles were alleged to contain dangerous Asbestos fibres.
Asbestos was also found in gaps around ceiling tiles which had been painted with a special rubber paint to prevent the release of asbestos fibres. But unfortunately the other side of the tiles were not painted with the special paint and concerns are raised again about whether asbestos fibres could be released through the gaps.
Despite Leicester City Council Health and Safety officers carrying out their own investigation and confirming that there was no evidence of fibres being released from the gaps, a National Union of Teachers Health and Safety Advisor, Andrew Haynes, found otherwise.
He found the tiles were in a poor condition and that it took the Council six months to commence works at the site. This included time when students and teachers were at the school and over the Christmas period.
All schools must have an Asbestos Audit and register to identify any asbestos material within its premises. It must also ensure that any of its workers, including teachers and maintenance workers are made aware of the potential risks involved in working with asbestos and/or being exposed to asbestos, and to ensure that every precaution is taken to reduce or minimise the risk of asbestos fibres being released. If the asbestos is disturbed or damaged then it can pose a risk to anyone in the vicinity.
Slater and Gordon Asbestos Disease Solicitor Adam Wilson reiterates the concerns of the dangers of asbestos especially where those most vulnerable, children are concerned and those who are tasked to care for them on a daily basis, within their workplace.
“The presence of asbestos in any work environment is a concern, even more so when children and those who have a responsibility for them are involved. It's essential that the asbestos is properly identified, managed and where necessary removed as soon as practicable to reduce any potential exposure.
It is encouraging to read that the school has maintained an asbestos register and that initial air monitoring revealed no asbestos fibres being released. Further, this is a timely reminder of the dangers of asbestos considering the review of the management of asbestos within schools being undertaken by the Department for Education.
Anyone potentially exposed to asbestos should register their potential exposure as soon as possible. Slater and Gordon maintain a National Asbestos Register and you can contact Dominic Smith on 0161 383 3527 or freephone 0800 916 9046 to register.”
For information about the maintenance, removal and disposal of asbestos please visit the Health and Safety Executive website.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices nationwide and offer a free consultation for victims of asbestos related diseases seeking compensation and rehabilitation support.
Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help.