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The asbestos team at Novum are increasingly being requested to investigate claims for primary school teachers.
In a case we took on only last week involved a primary school teacher who was exposed to asbestos dust at four different primary schools and there seemed to be an awful lot of stapling children’s work for display onto the asbestos ceiling tiles. It was interesting to hear a description of the heavy staple gun which staples into the ceiling tile with some force, thus easily disturbing the asbestos. It is certainly the case that primary school age children are going to be encouraged by having their work regularly displayed.
A further important area of possible exposure for a school teacher is also the on site boiler house where we have come across many examples of this area being used to eat sandwiches, smoke (if raining outside) and also to socialise. In one case, there were actually chairs in the boiler house and staff were encouraged to use the area as a common room. The teacher cases are very worrying to deal with especially as US research shows that for every teacher who contracts mesothelioma, as will a number of the pupils from that classroom breathing in the same invisible dust and fibres. It is certainly the case that 75% of UK schools contain asbestos materials and most built between the 1950’s and 1980’s were built using asbestos products as these were the periods when asbestos was so widely used in the UK.
It is the case that UK has the highest number of teachers diagnosed with mesothelioma in the world and with an average 30 years incubation period it is thought we are only now beginning to see the contamination problems from the 1980’s.
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