According to DUP MLA Ian McCrea around 60 schools in Mid-Ulster have been found to contain asbestos and the concern has been raised with the Education Minister. Sadly, up to 75 deaths a year in Northern Ireland are due to asbestosis and/or mesothelioma (the only lung cancer to be attributed to exposure to asbestos) according to the General Register Office.
Schools throughout the country must ensure that an asbestos register is maintained and updated on a regular basis to identify if any asbestos material is within its premises. They also need to ensure that any of its workers, including teachers and maintenance workers are made aware of the potential risks involved in working within an area that contains asbestos and/or being exposed to asbestos. They also need 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. Specialist asbestos litigation lawyer, in Slater and Gordon’s Chest & Asbestos Disease Group Louise Larkin, reiterates the concerns of the dangers of asbestos especially where children are concerned and those who are tasked to care for them on a daily basis, within their workplace.
“Asbestos in any work environment is a concern. It is imperative that the asbestos is properly identified, managed, contained and where necessary removed by the appropriate asbestos removal specialists to reduce any potential exposure to those in the vicinity.
This is another timely reminder of the dangers of asbestos considering the review of the management of asbestos within schools being undertaken by the Department for Education in England and Wales.
Anyone potentially exposed to asbestos should register this potential exposure as soon as possible. Slater and Gordon maintain a National Asbestos Register, to register please contact Dominic Smith on 0161 383 3527 or freephone 0800 916 9046
By Louise Larkin, a Personal Injury Solicitor in the Industrial Disease Group at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
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