Waltham Forest Council has left itself liable for industrial disease claims for potentially exposing visitors to asbestos at the town hall.
The Health and Safety Executive has issued a series of improvement orders to the authority after noting its failure to draw up legally-required plans for managing the presence of the carcinogenic fibre at the Forest Road building, reports the Waltham Forest Guardian.
It has been revealed that all three types of asbestos - including the most dangerous blue variety - had been found in multiple rooms of the town hall, an issue the council has been aware of since the 1980s, but failed to act upon.
This comes after the HSE recently conducted an investigation into the council's handling of water systems in a number of schools, following concerns about the potential spread of Legionella bacteria.
Nick Tiratsoo, a community worker of Odessa Road in Leytonstone, told the newspaper: "The town hall is used by thousands of people every month ... yet the the council now stands condemned for failing to take the elementary steps which are required to deal with the building's asbestos."
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause a number of health conditions, including mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that around 2,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with each year.
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Posted by Francesca Witney