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Asbestos lawyer calls for workplace protection for all, not just MPs

The Houses of Parliament will be made safe for MPs in restoration project

8 September 2016

Asbestos lawyer and campaigner Harminder Bains has called on the Government to press for action on the removal of asbestos in schools and workplaces as a huge restoration project is announced to make safe the Houses of parliament.
Harminder, whose father died of mesothelioma, and who has campaigned for the removal of potentially lethal asbestos products in workplaces, including schools and hospitals, says, “I am saddened that while MPs are quick to preserve their own safety when it comes to asbestos removal, schoolchildren and people working in offices, hospitals and factories, do not have the same choice.”
The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster is to recommend that MPs move out of the Houses of Parliament for six years while an extensive restoration programme takes place.
A report on the state of the buildings last years highlighted problems including fire risks, collapsing roofs and walls, leaking pipes and large quantities of asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos is the only cause of the fatal lung cancer mesothelioma which causes thousands of premature deaths every year.
In 2015 the all-party Parliamentary Group of Occupational Safety and Health called for immediate action to remove asbestos from the UK’s workplaces and public buildings.
At the time, Ian Lavery, chair of the all-party group said: “There is far too much complacency about the asbestos which we can still find in hundreds of thousands of workplaces as well as a majority of schools where children face exposure to this killer dust.
Harminder Bains, partner in the asbestos team at Leigh Day said:
“Asbestos dust is a killer. People have the right to work and study in buildings that are free of this menace.
“Unlike MPs, who will enjoy the restoration of their workplace at tax payers’ expense, thousands of UK citizens will go on to develop a fatal lung disease because they have been exposed to asbestos.
“The Government should do all it can to get asbestos out of schools.  Pupils, teachers and support staff all deserve protection from asbestos, and it is deeply disappointing that the Department of Education still does not have a long term strategy in place to deal with this lethal problem.
“All workers deserve protection, not just the ones who are lucky enough to work in the Houses of Parliament.”
MPs to move out of 'asbestos-riddled' Parliament in £4bn restoration plan Independent 8.9.16

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