Category Archives: Prosecutions of authorities

All Party Parliamentary Group regulations for removal of all asbestos in schools by 2028

“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

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Council fined £14,000 after exposing employees in school

Edinburgh News: Lothian Councils pay £700,000 to asbestos victims… It was regularly used in buildings from the 1950s until the late-1990s when it was banned. With the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, in NHS Lothian more than doubling in the past 20 years, experts warn the number of claims will continue to rise… New figures, released under Freedom of Information, show that the city council has paid out £356,800 in the past five years to victims of asbestos. Midlothian Council has paid out £152,700 since 2008 and West Lothian Council paid out £196,817 in a settlement to an ex-council worker who developed asbestos-related lung disease.

In 2004, Edinburgh spent millions of pounds to remove asbestos from council buildings, including schools and public buildings… Five years later, in 2009, the council was fined £14,000 after exposing ten of its employees to asbestos dust at Castlebrae Community High School.

Heating engineers exposed to asbestos when working at Manchester school

HSE: A Stockport heating engineering firm were sentenced after two of its engineers were exposed to asbestos while working at a Manchester school. Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard Flueclean were contracted to replace boilers in the boiler room of the school. However, two of Flueclean’s gas engineers were exposed to asbestos when they took the side panels off boilers which had asbestos insulation on the boiler casing

Waltham Forest fined

UNISON Waltham Forest – Waltham Forest fined for putting employees health at risk.The London Borough of Waltham Forest was fined last Friday at Southwark Crown Court following their pleading guilty to two Charges under the Health and safety at Work Act 1974 section 2(1) and section 3(1), namely failure to protect their employees and failure to protect the public with a further two charges specifically relating to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and 2012 Regulation 4(8) which relate to the failure to manage asbestos in the Town Hall basement.

With the massive cut backs at the HSE and reduction of their enforcement regime the only cases that are being investigated is when something goes obviously wrong, such as in this case. We need action now with a plan to safely remove all asbestos in the coming years to protect workers and especially children in our asbestos ridden schools…. “Our members will be living with the consequences of asbestos exposure for the rest of their lives and the London Borough of Waltham Forest must acknowledge this sorry state of affairs and create a central register of workers who were exposed to these deadly fibres.” Said Bill Palmer UNISON’s Health and Safety Officer.

Music teacher died of mesothelioma. Local authority admit culpable exposure to asbestos

Music teacher died of mesothelioma. Local authority admitted culpable exposure to asbestos

Julia Popple died aged 54 from mesothelioma following following exposure to asbestos in her early career.

Mrs Popple worked as an assistant music teacher at a state school in Newham, East London in the 1980s when she was in her late 20s. She was only in employment there for three years but suffered what the local authority admitted was culpable exposure to respirable asbestos dust. The school contained lots of asbestos materials and some of the walls comprised asbestos insulation board. Lots of the classrooms had asbestos ceiling tiles and Julia often went into a broom cupboard to fetch a dustpan and brush when this cupboard was itself contaminated with low but, foreseeably harmful levels of asbestos dust and fibre….Stephen Glynn was prepared to take on the claim under a CFA well before the defendant admitted liability. He advised and drafted pleading which led to the settlement this week of the claim in the sum of £450,000.

Government Review of asbestos in schools published – welcomed but an analysis of the flaws linked to a copy

At this link is a welcome for the review and an analysis of the flaws in the review that need rectifying. The analysis is linked to a copy of the review.

HSE visit .. only 39% of schools aware of DfE guidance on asbestos .. HSE no longer do safety inspections of schools

Legislation Watch:     Asbestos and schools: the lessons learnt (Legislation Watch 9 Feb 2015); “If children are exposed to asbestos, they have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma than if exposed in later life. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of teachers developing mesothelioma within the last 10 years… Of the 153 schools visited (by HSE), 20 (13%) were issued with an Improvement Notice… 24 other schools were given “written advice” on improving their controls…. 46% of schools did not have a comprehensive system in place to provide information to those who might disturb asbestos-containing materials… only 39% of schools in England were aware of the DfE’s guidance on managing asbestos in schools…. The competency of surveyors is critical in identifying where asbestos is and in what condition. Yet only 31% of schools could show to the HSE they had checked the competency of the surveyors they used… In relation to Asbestos Management Plans only half of the schools recorded all the details that were required, 33% had no such plans.”

Comment: This article underlines the failure of a significant number of schools  to safely manage their asbestos identified in the last round of HSE inspections. It also shows how essential it is to have a system of proactive inspections to identify those schools that are not managing their asbestos safely. However there is now no system in place as HSE are no longer is allowed to carry out these essential safety inspections.