Louise Larkin, one of our asbestos experts, discusses the risk of asbestos in schools
Many system built schools constructed between 1945 and 1975 and certainly before 2000 will contain some form of asbestos.
Asbestos based materials were widely used which included ceiling tiles, floor tiles, textured coatings, asbestos insulating board (AIB) used for fire protection, partitioning and asbestos lagging used as thermal insulation on pipes and boilers. Asbestos is most commonly recognised by its colour and these are white (Chrysotile), brown (Amosite) and blue (Crocidolite). The importation of Crocidolite and Amosite was banned in 1972 and 1980 respectively.
Louise Larkin and her team of specialist solicitors resolutely pursue compensation claims against employers and insurance companies for clients who suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. Thompsons Solicitors will support you through every step of your asbestos compensation claim, providing expert legal advice as well as access to a network of support services and medical professionals.
The most likely way asbestos materials would create a risk in schools is when it is disturbed or damaged through maintenance, repair or unruly activities by pupils. If asbestos is disturbed there is a risk that the fibres will become airborne and create risk to others in the school. Anyone connected to a school could be at risk if it is disturbed including pupils, teachers, caretakers, cleaners and school secretaries.
However, if the asbestos is in good condition and undisturbed, then it is highly unlikely that there is a significant risk. The schools and/or local authorities should therefore ensure that the asbestos is properly managed by identifying where it is and what condition it is in. It is important to note that there is no risk to one’s health from a simple
presence of a building containing asbestos materials. It is only when the fibres are released that the risk is evident.
There are about 800,000 teachers and 9,000,000 children in our schools at any one time. More than 224 teachers in England have died of mesothelioma between the years 2003-2012. It is estimated that (on average) children attend primary school for 6.5 years and secondary school for a further 6 years, during which they are indoors for 25 hours per week for 40 weeks per year. Therefore their potential exposure to asbestos could be quite significant.
Children are particularly vulnerable to asbestos and it is likely that the suffering will continue and the number of deaths will continue for decades to come. There are no safe levels of exposure to asbestos.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding such issues or have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease then please contact Louise Larkin of Thompsons Solicitors on 0151 224 1644 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Louise is an asbestos specialist dealing with asbestos-related claims on behalf of the victims and their families for over 25 years.