Christmas decorations at school ‘could have heightened asbestos risk’

As leading nationwide specialists in asbestos consultancy, here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we know full well how crucial it is to educate as many people as possible on the risks that asbestos can pose, particularly when one comes into direct contact with it.

It therefore doesn’t surprise us that the organisation in the UK representing education worker unions warned its members that they could be putting themselves and children in danger if they put up Christmas decorations in the classroom, given how asbestos can be disturbed as a result.

Almost 90% of British schools still contain asbestos

 In issuing its directive through the Department for Education, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) warned school staff across the country that nearly nine in 10 schools still harboured some of the toxic material.

JUAC said that when staples and pins are put into walls and ceilings as part of the process of decorating classrooms for the festive season, microscopic asbestos fibres can be released. This, in turn, may have serious health implications for those nearby.

The Department for Education stated: “This activity should not be taking place in schools where asbestos is known to be present.”

JUAC urged school staff to determine whether asbestos was present in their building, as well as exactly where it was located. It added that those working in schools who suspected that asbestos was, indeed present should also avoid piercing the walls and ceilings of classrooms, corridors or halls with staples or pins to hang Christmas decorations.

School employees were therefore told to seek out alternative methods for the display of holiday decorations and other artwork.

The JUAC directive continued: “Any school built before 2000 is likely to contain asbestos. Nearly 90% of schools still contain asbestos and children are known to be most vulnerable because of the long latency of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.”

Ask Trident if you are not sure how to deal with asbestos on your premises.

 With Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012) making clear that every employer must ensure the provision of sufficient information, instruction and training to employees and contractors who are liable to come into contact with this notorious substance as part of their normal work, now may be the time to get in touch with our experts.

We can give your team the benefit of asbestos awareness  that will help to ensure the continued safety of everyone in your employ, so that future tragic illnesses can be avoided. Simply call us now, on 03333 441555, to find out more.

Asbestos exposed at disused BHS building in Hull

The building formerly housing one of Hull’s most instantly recognisable department stores – a branch of the now-defunct BHS – has had a hoarding placed around it due to the exposure of asbestos inside, according to the city council.

A statement by the local authority confirmed that “some of the cladding has started to come away and asbestos is being exposed”, adding that the hoarding was erected for “public safety” reasons.

One of the city’s highest-profile sites

The shop building is one of the most prominent structures in Hull city centre, and is known for its large Three Ships mosaic by artist Alan Boyson. The work was commissioned in 1963 by the building’s then-owner, The Co-op, and it is planned to be retained as part of a redevelopment of the site.

The canopy outside the building has recently served as a shelter for some of the city’s homeless population. However, white boards have now been put in place to fence it off, while the council is working with Emmaus, a charity for the homeless, to provide the rough sleepers with support and accommodation.

A report issued by the council only last month revealed the discovery of suspected raw asbestos fibres in the BHS building and the former Co-op store, both on Jameson Street.

Major redevelopment plans

A Hull City Council spokesperson stated: “In agreement with the owners of the BHS building, the council has placed hoarding around the site to ensure public safety.

“The council is currently in the process of purchasing this site, which will be the next key redevelopment area of the city and will be part of the new Albion Square.

“The development envisaged will enhance both the leisure and high quality retail offer in the new city centre, as well as providing more city centre residential property, contributing to the vitality of the centre and enhancing the demand necessary to boost and sustain the city centre evening economy.”

Albion Square is the name of the proposed mixed retail, leisure and housing development that the council intends to develop on the site around the Three Ships mural, with demolition of the rest of the former BHS building set to take place in June.

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Whether you or your organisation requires the most professional, safe and efficient advice on asbestos removal, compliance checking or air testing, we are always available here at Trident Asbestos Solutions to provide such vital services.

Call us today for your competitive quotation, on 03333 441555.

Norfolk man’s life ‘could be cut short’ by asbestos

It seems that throughout the UK, terrible stories are continuing to be told about the dreadful impact that asbestos is still having on people’s lives, often many decades after the sufferer’s initial exposure to the notoriously lethal substance.

One such story that saddened us recently was that of former factory inspector Paul Retallick, as reported by Norfolk newspaper, the Diss Mercury.

A tragic story of what could have been

Mr Retallick’s story can be traced back to the moment in 1969 when, then 18 years old and on the verge of starting a family, he accepted a job at Cape that he thought represented just the start of a bright future.

Instead, it was a role that put the now-Attleborough resident in close contact with highly dangerous asbestos fibres, which have been greatly detrimental to his health in later life – and could yet kill him.

Such an awful possibility is hardly likely to have crossed Paul’s mind when he first started work with the company, which – although it often required him to work a 54-hour week – paid even youngsters like him £24 a week, far beyond what a teenager could expect to earn at any other firm.

Such seemingly generous pay enabled Paul and his wife Shirley to save for a deposit for a house that they would have otherwise been unable to afford.

However, all of this was at an appalling cost that would not become apparent until many years later.

Conditions that turned dark blue overalls “stone white”

 From the start of his time with Cape until 1971, Paul was responsible for the inspection and cutting up of boards made from asbestos materials, which subjected him to a high level of exposure to the fibres that have caused the deaths of so many down the years.

He has said that on some days, the dust was so thick that his dark blue overalls “would change colour to medium blue within 10 minutes… by the end of the shift, they were stone white.”

 

Although Paul and his colleagues were offered masks, he has said they were so uncomfortable and suffocating that they were impossible to wear.

Furthermore, he said that he and his co-workers were never informed of the risks of asbestos, including that breathing in asbestos on a daily basis could put them at risk in decades to come of fatal lung diseases such as mesothelioma.

The safe removal of asbestos remains of critical importance

 Paul’s own present condition – diffuse pleural thickening – could yet ultimately kill him if it does develop into mesothelioma. In the meantime, it has greatly compromised his health and life, having halved his lung capacity.

It is another chilling warning of the dangers of this dreadful substance, which – although now banned – remains present in many older buildings and may still pose a risk to health if disturbed.

If you have any doubts about the safety of your own premises due to the potential presence of asbestos fibres, don’t hesitate to contact the team here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, who will be able to oversee the safest and most professional removal of asbestos and advice from your contaminated site.

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