Back in February 2018, we released a blog talking about the sad story of Sue, a former teacher who lost her life to cancer, which was caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only teacher who was affected by asbestos in schools; the National Union of Teachers state that 319 teachers have died from mesothelioma since 1980.
Back when we wrote that blog, it was believed that around 86% of schools in the UK still contained asbestos. Now we know from a government report that around 84% of schools reported that asbestos was present on at least one of their sites.
So, there has been very little progress in the removal of asbestos in schools in the UK. Also, the 2% drop could be due to the new schools that have been built (obviously without using asbestos) increasing the total number of schools.
Other asbestos statistics
- In 2017, there was a total of 2,523 deaths caused by mesothelioma
- In addition to this, there is thought to be a similar number of deaths due to asbestos-related lung cancers
- Asbestos can take a very long time to kill - so more than half of the deaths in the UK were of those who were over 75
- The lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma is predicted to be about three and a half times greater for a child first exposed at age five compared to an adult first exposed at age 25
So, what do we do now?
Seeing as there is little progress with the removal of asbestos, which can be put down to less funding in schools, we must educate those who could be affected by it, to better prevent asbestos being disturbed in schools.
When actions as small as putting a pin in a wall can actually cause a threat to life, this training should be treated with utter urgency.
All school staff should be trained to understand the risks posed by asbestos and what long-term health effects it can have on those who work near it.
We offer IOSH & IATP Approved Online Asbestos Awareness Training that covers the types of asbestos, the regulations surrounding asbestos, and what procedures should be followed if asbestos is accidentally disturbed.
You can claim a no-obligation free trial to the course today!