We are pleased to have Michael Lees as our Guest Blogger of the month. Michael campaigns tirelessly to inform parents, teachers and support staff about asbestos in schools. His campaign website gives guidance on how to improve the management of asbestos in schools. It aims to encourage openness in the UK Government’s policy towards asbestos in schools.
Article by Michael Lees – September 2014 – http://www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk
The Government is presently undertaking a review of its asbestos policy for schools and its report is imminent. There are far reaching implications, both financially and for the future safety of children and staff in our schools. The review is a positive step forward. But if it is to fulfil its potential the Government must honestly and openly examine all the evidence. In particular they must reconsider their policy of leaving asbestos in place and managing it.
More than 75% of schools contain asbestos and most remains in place because of Government policy for schools that “Asbestos which is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed or damaged is better left in place and managed until the end of the life of the building as this presents less risk of exposure to the occupants than the process of removing it.”
However the school estate has not been properly maintained and is generally in a poor condition because of long term under funding. As the buildings have deteriorated then so has the asbestos. Of particular concern is AIB that is in places accessible to children. Over the years AIB panels lining corridors have been be hit by bags and bashed by boisterous pupils. AIB ceiling tiles in gyms have been hit by balls and panels under desks kicked by the pupil’s feet. Although the visible face may be painted, the reverse face is not, so each hit or kick will release amosite fibres to be inhaled by the occupants. Read more