Following a request by campaigner Lucie Stephens, whose mother Sue died last year from an asbestos-related cancer after working as a teacher for 30 years, figures have been released regarding asbestos found in Telford schools.

"Parents have been kept in the dark about asbestos risks for too long," Miss Stephens Said: “A survey in 2015 found that 44 per cent of teachers have not been told if their school contains asbestos. This lack of awareness puts them and their pupils at risk of exposure.”

A spokesperson from Telford & Wrekin Council quoted: “As with all buildings of such an age, there is a risk that asbestos may have been used in their construction. Telford & Wrekin Council is working through its schools estate to assess the risks and remove any asbestos safely."

Miss Stephens, from Devon, is also campaigning for new laws requiring every school in the UK to produce an annual report about the type and condition of any asbestos on its premises and also calling on the Government to introduce a policy for the phased removal of all asbestos from schools over the next 11 years, starting with the most dangerous types. "MP's recommended this in 2012 but no action has been taken" Miss Stephens said.

So who is responsible for Asbestos in Schools?
Specifically Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 includes an explicit duty for those in control of premises to identify and manage any asbestos present. This responsibility falls to the duty holder, which in many cases is the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the premises. Depending on the type of school, this can be the local authority, the governing body, owners or trustees.

The dutyholder is required to assess and manage the risks from asbestos to employees and others, and must ensure that anyone who is likely to work on, or disturb, asbestos is provided with information about its location and condition.

To do this, the Regulations require a written asbestos management plan setting out what steps are to be taken to manage any ACMs present in the building. The dutyholder must take reasonable steps to find out if there are ACMs in the premises and if so identify how much, where it is and what condition it is in. This is usually done by a person competent in carrying out an asbestos survey, with the results recorded in an asbestos register.

Dangers of disturbed asbestos
When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed, fibres are released into the air which when inhaled can cause serious diseases. This is why it is so important to make sure asbestos in schools is managed correctly to stop health risks to students, teachers and other staff members.

How we can help?
Bradley Environmental is one of the most respected asbestos consultants in the UK offering a whole range of asbestos risk management services. We have worked with many schools across the country and advise our clients on the most efficient, operationally and economically advantageous way to manage asbestos, without compromising on safety issues. You can find out more about our Asbestos Consultancy here.

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