Public ‘not at risk’ from asbestos after Glasgow nightclub fire

One of the sternest recent tests for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service occurred on the morning of Thursday 22nd March, when a fire took hold in the roof of a building on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street that it was initially feared could spread to nearby structures such as the historic Pavilion Theatre.

Thankfully, that dreaded scenario did not come to pass, although the decision was made by Glasgow City Council not to allow staff access to the theatre for about two months amid concerns about smoke damage and damage caused to some of the venue’s doors by fire-fighters.

Nonetheless, one positive development is the fire service’s statement that there is “no risk” to the public of being exposed to asbestos as a result of the sad blaze.

Vital atmospheric testing undertaken

 According to a fire service spokesperson on 23rd March, atmospheric testing had been carried out and “concluded that there is no risk to the public from asbestos.”

However, the council deemed buildings at 92-96 and 98-106 – the latter including Victoria’s nightclub – to be unsafe, adding that they would have to be demolished.

The fire broke out at about 8:20am on the Thursday, and at its height, more than 120 fire-fighters and 20 fire engines were mobilised to the city centre.

What dangers can asbestos pose in fires like this?

 While worries about the asbestos risk from this particular high-profile fire have thankfully been quelled, that does not mean your own buildings could not pose such a danger in the event of a devastating conflagration like this.

The use of asbestos in buildings in the UK was completely banned before the end of the 20th century, but the harmful material may still be present in properties built or revamped before then.

Asbestos was once widely used in such areas of buildings as under the floorboards, boilers, pipework, insulation, calorifiers and heat exchangers. If a person inhales asbestos fibres, some may become trapped in the organs and cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. Thousands of deaths each year are linked to asbestos-related diseases.

Don’t leave asbestos removals to chance

 If you are unsure whether the users or occupants of your buildings or members of the public could be exposed to asbestos on your premises, it’s essential to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Instead, get on the phone to our experts in asbestos removals here at Trident Asbestos Solutions today, calling 03333 441555 for your competitive quotation.  

Integral role of asbestos testing

Recent news stories highlight integral role of asbestos testing

Asbestos surveys and testing

Food for thought on the various means by which asbestos can and should be managed has come from several recent news stories concerning the substance’s discovery that have prompted public concern.

With its services encompassing asbestos testing/sampling, management surveys, compliance checks, demolition surveys, refurbishment surveys and re-inspections, Trident Surveying is well-placed to ensure that any asbestos you do discover is managed in the most appropriate way.

One site where asbestos was recently found was an allotment site in Morpeth. The matter came to public notice at a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s property and asset management committee, which is in discussions about the possible transfer of the St Mary’s Field plots and other allotment sites to the authority.

Although the housing association that owns the affected site has decided that it is sufficient to leave the substance in situ with regular monitoring, council clerk Gillian Turner has confirmed that any plots that it takes on will have all discovered asbestos removed – even if only a small amount of the substance is present.

A spokesman for Isos Housing commented: “Having received a report from a specialist contractor, we are satisfied that the fencing boards containing asbestos around one of the plots at St Mary’s Field can remain in place, subject to continued monitoring.”

A more controversial story indicating the considerable importance of the most appropriate asbestos testing was the BBC report last month that more than 3,000 students in Wales stayed in bedrooms containing the substance.

Aberystwyth, Cardiff and the University of Wales have all confirmed that asbestos material was present in some of their rooms. They added that due to the low risk that the substance was considered to pose, they did not inform students that it had been found. This sparked widespread condemnation of university officials from other bodies.

The stance was described as “reckless” by the British Lung Foundation, while Beth Button, president of the National Union of Students in Wales, commented: “We strongly encourage institutions to take this issue seriously and put the safety of students first, whilst ensuring they remain completely transparent with students about the standards of their accommodation.”

Those are words that we can only agree with here at Trident Surveying. We are of the strong belief that given asbestos’ status as a silent killer, with symptoms of such deadly conditions as mesothelioma potentially only emerging many years after exposure, a moral obligation exists to inform those individuals who may have been exposed, even to ‘low-risk’ asbestos.

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