We believe the public should be made aware of the dangers of asbestos at work, at home, in public places and that more should be done to prosecute those who do not comply with the law on how asbestos in buildings should be managed.
We believe the government should identify, and ultimately remove asbestos from our country’s schools.
Asbestos in schools is a particular concern for us in Greater Manchester. Data obtained by the Manchester Evening News in 2010 showed that 903 out of 1,043 state schools in Greater Manchester still contain asbestos.
Asbestos is a particular problem in schools, since asbestos materials are easily damaged by the energetic behaviour of pupils. Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos, typically takes decades to develop. Pupils exposed at a young age may go on to develop mesothelioma later on in life. On average, 17 teachers a year are now dying from mesothelioma. It has been estimated that up to 300 people a year die from mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos as school pupils. GMAVSG supports the excellent work of JUAC, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee. The JUAC website is an excellent source of information on the issue of asbestos in schools.
GMAVSG also supports the online petition by Lucie Stephens, whose mum died from mesothelioma. The petition calls for all schools to report on the condition of the asbestos in their buildings, and for the government to remove asbestos from schools by 2028.
Where a school is found to contain asbestos following a survey, the survey results must be recorded on an Asbestos Register. How the asbestos is to be managed to reduce risk must then be set out in an Asbestos Management Plan. If you work in a school in Greater Manchester, or if you have a child who attends school in Greater Manchester, and you have concerns about how asbestos is being managed in that school, please ring us on 0161 636 7555.