1 February 2012
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health has published a report, Asbestos in schools: the need for action
which highlights the dangerous levels of asbestos
that can be found in Britain’s schools.
More than 75% of Britain’s state schools contain asbestos, exposure to which can cause both lung cancer and the fatal disease mesothelioma. Every year some 4, 000 people die as a result of being exposed to asbestos.
Much of the asbestos found in schools is used in insulating materials and to lag boilers and is badly maintained meaning that caretakers, staff, office staff and pupils could all have been exposed to deadly asbestos dust. The report makes six recommendations about how we can protect people in schools and prevent further exposure to asbestos which specialist asbestos claims lawyers Leigh Day & Co endorse. They are that:
- The Government should set a programme for the phased removal of asbestos from all schools, with priority being given to those schools where the asbestos is considered to be most dangerous or damaged.
- Standards in asbestos training should be set and the training should be mandatory. The training should be properly funded.
- It is recommended that the DfE and HSE jointly develop asbestos guidance specifically for schools and that current standards be reviewed.
- A policy of openness should be adopted. Parents, teachers and support staff should be annually updated on the presence of asbestos in their schools and the measures that are being taken to manage it.
- Pro-active inspections to determine the standards of asbestos management should be reinstated, with a view to reducing future costs.
- Data should be collected centrally on the extent, type and condition of asbestos in schools and this becomes an integral part of the data collection of the condition of the nation’s schools.
Daniel Easton, a specialist mesothelioma claims partner at Leigh Day, has successfully recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of those who have worked in schools. He says:
"It is shocking that successive governments have been willing to put our children’s lives at risk for the sake of budget constraints. Medical evidence indicates that children are more susceptible to asbestos, and given we are facing an epidemic, with upwards of 2,500 people dying every year from mesothelioma, this complacency simply has to stop. America addressed the issue of asbestos in schools over 25 years ago and it now has an incidence of mesothelioma far lower than the UK. The time has come for the government to properly manage the problem of asbestos in schools before more lives are lost.”
Leigh Day: asbestos claims and mesothelioma lawyers
Leigh Day has a team of specialist mesothelioma claims lawyers who have successfully obtained millions of pounds in compensation for people who have contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. We only represent claimants and do not act for insurance companies. Daniel Easton, partner and head of the industrial diseases team, has been recognised as a leader in the areas of asbestos compensation claims by both major legal directories. Chambers guide to the legal profession recently described him as being considered ‘outstandingly knowledgeable’ by the Bar, and ‘compassionate’ and ‘responsive’ by clients.
If you would like to talk to one of our lawyers about a possible claim for compensation relating to asbestos, asbestosis, pleural plaques or mesothelioma please contact us on 020 7650 1200 for a free initial consultation.
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