Why is there still a lack of Asbestos Management Competence in Schools?
Yesterday, 26th February 2013, the GMB union who represent school support staff welcomed the call for evidence by the House of Commons Education Select Committee on the issues around asbestos in Schools. Robin Nower, Director of Derisk UK - Asbestos Risk Management, discusses the issues surrounding the management of asbestos in schools in the UK.
The issues of asbestos in schools in not a new one and recent column inches in the press have heightened the focus and concerns. It is entirely understandable that as a society we are concerned about the presence of asbestos in our schools, nothing being more emotive than the health and wellbeing of our children.
It is also not surprising that unions are additionally concerned with the health and wellbeing of their members with recent cases being heard on the apparent effects of low concentration long duration exposure to asbestos being contributory to asbestos related disease.
As is often the case the figures quoted are 'scary' in stating that 75% of schools contain asbestos with 'much' of it in a dangerous condition which is an, as yet, unquantifiable figure.
However the focus should really be the apparent specific exclusion of asbestos from the DfE audit on school condition and the concerns that there is no identification of dutyholder responsibilities with concerns that asbestos information will be lost.
In all of the statutory instrument revisions that deal specifically with asbestos from the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 through to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 there has been a specific 'duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises' under Regulation 4.