Asbestos in Schools Compensation Claims
Asbestos in public buildings such as schools has long been recognised as a major risk to health and safety.
After the Second World War many schools were constructed as system buildings (such as CLASP, SCOLA, SEAC, MACE, ONWARD). Such construction remained up to the early 1980’s. Within the majority of such buildings, asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were used extensively for heat insulation and fireproofing, as well as in floor and ceiling tiles and wall panels. Asbestos may also be found on lagging around pipes and boilers.
Many of the system buildings used lightweight steel frames that required fire protection, particularly in ground floor locations. Asbestos insulating board (AIB) was often used for this purpose.
The most likely way ACMs will create a risk in schools is when they are disturbed or damaged through maintenance, repair or construction activities. School caretakers are a particular group at risk due to the nature of their work along with contractors undertaking maintenance or installation work. If asbestos is disturbed during such work, there is a risk that fibres will be released creating a risk to workman and others in the school, including teachers and pupils.
Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive indicates that asbestos that is in good condition and unlikely to be damaged or disturbed is not a significant risk to health as long as it is properly managed. Accordingly, teachers and pupils are unlikely to be at significant risk provided they do not undertake activities that damage ACMs, such as pinning or tacking work to insulation boards.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 places a variety of duties on those responsible for the maintenance of the school, including the need to identify all materials containing asbestos. The Regulations do not require the removal of all such materials as long as there is no obvious threat and appropriate steps are taken to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure to an acceptable level. Any maintenance work should be planned in such a way as to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres.
At Sintons our personal injury specialists have significant experience of pursuing compensation claims arising from asbestos related conditions.
To begin a personal injury compensation claim or obtain further advice with no obligation contact Sintons 24/7 on Freephone 0800 046 1748 or from a mobile on 0330 332 0536.