GMB Welcome New Asbestos Guidance To Schools And Colleges Issued By The UK Government

5 Nov 2012

The online guidance is a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos teachers, support staff and children says GMB.

GMB as a member of Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) welcome the new online Department for Education asbestos management guidance for UK Schools and Colleges. The asbestos guidance for schools is now live and available at:- http://www.education.gov.uk/b00215518/asbestosmanagementschools

JUAC is a trade union campaigning committee comprising unions in education: GMB,  Association of School and College Leaders; Association of Teachers and Lecturers; National Association of Head Teachers; NASUWT; National Union of Teachers; Voice; The education sections of Unite, UNISON, and UCATT. See JUAC website: http://www.juac.org.uk.

JUAC has the objective of making all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos. All the unions in JUAC are members of the Asbestos in Schools (AIS) campaign.

Over 75 per cent of Britain’s state schools contain asbestos, according to the Asbestos in Schools: the need for action report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. The report reveals that much of the asbestos is badly maintained, meaning that children and staff are exposed to this killer fibre.

Julie Winn JUAC Chair “The new online guidance is a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos.

More than 140 school teachers have died from mesothelioma (a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos) in the past ten years. An unknown number of cleaners, administrative staff, caretakers, cooks and lunchtime supervisors have also died.

The number of children who have been killed by exposure to asbestos at school is unknown, but in the US it was estimated that for every one teacher who dies, nine former pupils will die in adulthood from their exposure as a child., In the UK that would mean that more than 100 people are dying every year as a result of asbestos exposure when they were at school.

With the delivery of education experiencing major changes, and even more expected, it has never been more important that head teachers, bursars and school managers know how to manage the asbestos in their schools and JUAC calls for mandatory asbestos management training.

It is equally important that those working and learning in schools containing asbestos understand the risks and how to reduce those to the lowest possible level. This online guidance is a good starting point for all teaching and support staff. It is a simple and effective way to gain an understanding of asbestos awareness so that they can then avoid disturbing asbestos and can prevent pupils from disturbing asbestos.”

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