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JMW Freedom of Information requests reveal that the majority of schools in Greater Manchester contain asbestos9th July 2019 Personal Injury
Freedom of information requests made by JMW to local councils and schools have revealed that 58% (378 out of 650) of school buildings in the Greater Manchester area contain asbestos. This means that people working in and attending schools are at risk of asbestos-related diseases, which often aren’t obvious until symptoms appear later in life, typically between 30 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has historically been used in manufacturing and construction since the late 19th century in ceiling tiles, sprayed coatings and pipes and boilers.
It wasn’t until the mid-80s that brown asbestos was banned for use in construction, and a law soon followed in the late 1990s that outlawed the use of white asbestos. The Control of Asbestos Regulations Act in 1999 made the following illegal:
Use of asbestos cement
Use of insulating materials made from asbestos
Use of asbestos for surface coating
Use of asbestos paint or plaster
Importing products containing asbestos
Most of the school establishments that did feature asbestos have sealed off and regularly check ACMs regularly. However, there are a number of issues with leaving asbestos in place, even if it is not in poor condition, or if it’s sufficiently sealed. If the presence of asbestos is not clearly displayed, the asbestos could be disturbed by future maintenance or repair work. In addition to this, exposure could be accidentally caused in areas of high wear-and-tear, or damaged by vandalism.
For more information on asbestos in schools, please take a look at our guide here.
Asbestos-related claims are on the rise, with HSE statistics revealing that there were 2,595 mesothelioma deaths in 2016, and it is estimated that there were a similar number of deaths due to asbestos-related lung cancer. A recent report from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health indicated that asbestos-related diseases are linked to around 5,000 deaths per year.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from an asbestos-related illness, the first step should be for you to get a diagnosis as soon as you can. If you are looking for legal support and help on your journey to recompense, call us on 0800 054 6570 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will contact you at a time you specify.
Full details of the freedom of information requests can be found below:
|Council||Number of Schools Responded||Schools Containing Asbestos||Percentage of Schools Containing Asbestos|
|Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council||123||51||42.46%|
|Bury Metropolitan Borough Council||82||57||69.51%|
|Manchester City Council||72||43||59.72%|
|Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council||80||72||90.00%|
|Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council||42||34||80.95%|
|Salford City Council||36||16||44.44%|
|Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council||80||58||72.50%|
|Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council||97||21||21.65%|
|Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council||40||28||70.00%|
|Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council||Information Not Submitted||Information Not Submitted||Information Not Submitted|
Fig.1 Percentage of schools containing asbestos, by council
|Establishment Type||Number of Schools||Schools Containing Asbestos||Percentage of Schools Containing Asbestos|
|Schools and Academies (Total)||954||517||54.19%|
Fig.2 Percentage of schools containing asbestos, by establishment type