The closure of two schools, one in Northern Ireland and the other in Wales, earlier this week due to the discovery of deadly asbestos unfortunately comes as little surprise.
As expert Scottish compensation Solicitors, Thompsons is well aware that asbestos is still rife in schools the length and breadth of the country with an estimated 75 per cent of schools in Britain thought to contain asbestos. The revelations that almost 900 schools in Northern Ireland and a similar number in Wales contain asbestos are no surprise given the age of these schools and the prevalence of asbestos as a building material in the right up until the 1980s.
The more worrying aspect is that school boards, restricted by tight budgets, are unable to do anything about the asbestos – instead forced to toe the party line; by insisting that asbestos is only harmful if disturbed. It is commonly believed that if asbestos is left undisturbed it can be managed to prevent it causing any harm to health.
From dealing with hundreds of asbestos compensation claims every year Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland realise that asbestos in schools is indeed a ‘ticking time bomb’. In many cases it is only a matter of time before it is disturbed and causes asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer, pleural thickening or mesothelioma in an innocent pupil or teacher.
Campaigners in Wales are calling for a central register to identify where asbestos is present so it can be effectively monitored.