SERIOUS CONCERNS OVER GOVERNMENT’S ASBESTOS IN SCHOOLS REPORT

Commenting on the Department for Education’s publication of its Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) Survey report, Ms Chris Keates, General Secretary (Acting) of NASUWT- The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT is deeply concerned to see that in a significant number of schools, asbestos is still not being managed safely. All steps must be taken to keep staff and children safe.

“Every year, teachers and other education staff die from mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. In addition, up to 300 adults die each year due to exposure to asbestos in schools during childhood.

“We regret that the Government is simply not doing enough to protect staff and pupils.

“It is inexcusable that the Government has not made it compulsory for all schools to report on the presence and condition of asbestos.

“More than one in ten schools did not participate in the Department’s AMAP survey and 3,485 schools (17.8% of participating schools) are not compliant with the Department’s guidance.

“Asbestos is a significant problem in schools and it is deeply concerning that schools routinely are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over concerns that they are failing in their duty to safety manage asbestos.

“To protect staff and the public, the Government should also ensure that all schools are properly inspected by qualified persons to determine where asbestos is present, whether it should be removed or can be managed safely.

“There can also be no avoiding the fact of Government cuts to funding for refurbishing and building new schools since 2010 which, potentially, have contributed to pupils and teachers being further exposed to asbestos risk.

“Government and employers should be proactive in ensuring that all pupils and staff are safe in schools.”

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