An excellent range of speakers attended our 5 July asbestos awareness training day – Lorna Webster, head of Thompsons’ Solicitor South East Region Asbestos Team, Alex Blake,Camden’s senior health and safety advisor and Mike Holder from the National Hazards campaign.
The course was arranged following asbestos related safety incidents in housing and because Camden have recently implemented a new asbestos policy. There were 13 safety reps on the course – some of them had been involved in safety incidents involving asbestos and others had no involvement but were keen to learn.
Asbestos – related diseases were always thought of as being related to heavy industrial work, but it is now teachers, classroom assistants and caretakers that are being diagnosed. Any building built before 1990 is likely to have asbestos in it. The majority of schools contain asbestos. The teaching unions consider that total removal is the safest option. The effective management of asbestos in schools is essential because children are particularly vulnerable to developing disease after an exposure to asbestos. Mick Holder gave an update on the asbestos in schools campaign and the world wide asbestos campaign.
Camden’s policy describes how to manage asbestos, and explains that if any workers are accidentally exposed to asbestos the record of this will be kept in their personnel file for 50 years, and – at the suggestion of Camden UNISON – they have added an additional clause stating that this record should also be given to the individual to keep with their personal papers or to give to their GP.
Branch Health and Safety officer