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Teachers hit out at asbestos threat

A survey has revealed a large number of teachers have died in the last two decades from asbestos exposure.

Almost 150 teachers died from asbestos-related diseases between 1991 and 2000 and the total number will rise if more is not done, according to a motion set to be debated today at the NASUWT Annual Conference in Bournemouth.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said: “Asbestos is the biggest workplace killer in the UK. In ageing schools it can be a hidden but deadly threat.

“An NASUWT survey of over 5,000 teachers and school leaders revealed that almost one in five knew of asbestos in their schools and of these, almost half reported that the asbestos was not clearly marked.

“Some schools and colleges are not taking health and safety issues like this seriously and many local authorities are failing to comply with their statutory responsibilities.

“The NASUWT welcomes the fact that the Department for Children, Schools and Famillies (DCSF) is now requiring local authorities to provide information on the audits they should have conducted of asbestos in schools.

“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and a long-term strategy for the complete removal of asbestos from all buildings used for educational purposes must be the goal.”

H&V News says:

“With the Building Schools for the Future programme and other construction projects under way, dozens of schools will be refurbished, with many riddled with asbestos. This is sure to create plentiful opportunities for contractors with asbestos related expertise. Check out the contract leads in H&V News to periodically pick up details of these contracts.”