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Asbestos in Schools: BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show

Essential viewing: BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme addressed the devastating effects of exposure to asbestos.

David Martin worked as a Technician at a school. He taught woodwork and design at the school for 20 years where he was exposed to asbestos.

Staff were aware of the asbestos contamination on the school grounds, but thought that they had been cautious enough that they were safe. In the programme, David tells the BBC, “We were told it was all sealed… and we thought we were okay.”

It can take decades for doctors to diagnose the effects of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. David is now 70, and was diagnosed with Mesothelioma three years ago.

In David’s case, liability was admitted by the school and he has recovered damages by making a Mesothelioma compensation claim handled by Lawyers Slater and Gordon.

If you have not seen the programme, you can watch it here. The subject of asbestos in schools runs from 2:29 – 18:00, and David’s story features from 2:29 – 14:20.

The focus of the discussion by Victoria Derbyshire was on the hidden dangers posed to pupils, teachers and other employees at schools. The presence of asbestos in schools is terrifying. Like many people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, David had not thought that he had really been exposed to asbestos. "I wasn't aware that by banging doors that could have disturbed some of the asbestos fibres, which I'm now told it could have done,” said David. David installed a projector and a screen in every classroom in the school and handled asbestos ceiling tiles and it was then that he was exposed.

Statistics suggest that the number of school teachers dying from mesothelioma in Britain has increased from 3 people each year in the 1980s to 14 people each year in the last ten year period. More than 253 school teachers have died of mesothelioma since 1980 with more than 130 dying in the last ten years.

The programme looked at issues surrounding asbestos in schools and, crucially, how the problems are being addressed in an in-depth and rigorous way, offering a national platform to the victims and teachers affected to air their concerns.

Raising awareness of the consequences of asbestos in schools is essential in keeping teachers, children and the public safe.

The danger of asbestos in schools must be brought to the public attention and openly and widely discussed. The UK has the highest rate in the world of teachers dying from mesothelioma. It is essential that positive action strategies are implemented to ensure that all workers, teachers and pupils are properly protected to prevent more deaths continuing in future.

Read more here for further information on the dangerous reality of asbestos in schools.

Lesley Francois is an industrial disease solicitor with Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation about Mesothelioma and Asbestos compensation claims and most claims are dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis. Call our specialist Asbestos Claims Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

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