“The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health believes that the time has come to put in place regulations requiring the safe, phased and planned removal of all the asbestos that still remains in place across Britain. …..
- the dutyholder must develop and implement a plan for the removal of all asbestos which ensures that removal is completed as soon as is reasonably practical but certainly no later than 2035. In the case of public buildings and educational establishments, such as schools, this should be done by 2028.”
Background – or read the paper: APPG paper Remove asbestos in schools by 2028
“… people are still being exposed to asbestos. It is often people who are working in maintenance, refurbishment or demolition, but people can, and do, become exposed simply by working in a building with asbestos, as fibres can become dislodged and breathed in…. Around 85% of mesothelioma deaths are a result of exposure at work, but some are due to exposure in the home. An unknown number of people may have developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure while at school. This is because asbestos is present in around 75% of schools… There is no safe threshold of exposure to asbestos fibres. This means that the inhalation of small quantities, even over a short period, can lead to mesothelioma decades after exposure.
Provided the asbestos containing products are in good condition and are not likely to be disturbed during the normal use of the building, the recommended action is to leave the material as it is and manage it in place. This has been the generally accepted practice in the past, but was always seen as a temporary measure. Yet 15 years after the introduction of a ban on its use, the vast majority of asbestos is still in place and poses a major hazard to both workers and the wider public. It is the view of the all-party parliamentary group that retaining a policy of managing asbestos in place is no longer appropriate and must be changed. It is extremely unlikely that asbestos is never going to be disturbed if it is left in place for decades. There can be few cupboards, boilers, wall panels and pipes that have had no work done on them since the 1970s, when asbestos use was at its’ peak. There is therefore considerable doubt that most of the asbestos that is to be found in buildings is going to lie undisturbed for the next twenty years, let alone the next hundred…
Despite the regulations calling for all premises to be surveyed and asbestos containing materials to be regularly inspected and labelled, we know that this is not happening. A 2010 survey of 600 schools showed that only 28 per cent of respondents said the presence of asbestos-containing materials was clearly marked in the workplace. Where there was an asbestos-register, only one third of respondents were aware of its existence and only 20 per cent of the total sample confirmed that the register was shown to contractors before they commenced work. This is particularly worrying because the Committee on Carcinogenicity has concluded that children may be more susceptible to develop mesothelioma as a result of exposure.”