Tuesday 2nd April 2013 | 10:28
NUT: Shocking that we're debating asbestos exposure in 2013
NUT press release
Commenting after the debate on Motion 54, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:
"It is quite shocking that in 2013 we are still debating the issue of teachers and pupils being exposed to asbestos in our schools.
"More than 253 teachers have died from mesothelioma since 1980. There are no statistics for the number of pupils who have died as adults as a result of asbestos exposure at school. Since knowledge and science are incomplete in terms of the vulnerability of children to asbestos exposure, this calls for a precautionary approach to be adopted with schools being acknowledged as 'unique workplaces'. Surely the lives of pupils and school staff are more important than the cost of asbestos removal from our schools?
"Data should be collated on the presence of asbestos across local authorities so that the overall scale of the problem is known and those with the worst problems can be identified. This would allow the Government to make sound long-term financial forecasts and ensure resources are appropriately allocated for maintenance, refurbishment or replacement.
"The Government needs to follow the lead from the Australian Government which has made a commitment to remove asbestos from schools by 2030. Pupils and school staff deserve the same. Deaths are occurring every year due to successive Government inaction. It has to stop."