Advanced search

Asbestos in 75% of schools. Teacher killed from pinning up art work.

(44 Posts)
IamFatherChristmasNOTsanta Fri 29-Nov-13 14:34:07

I listened to Jeremy Vine today please listen if you can. It was talk in based around this lady, the only link with info I could see was Daily Mail.^headlines

Its in 75% of schools, the issues are where doesnt have it than where has got it.

It can be distrubed in all sorts of ways, this lady sadly passed away from pinning art work into walls.

All it takes is one fibre to settle in the lungs were it lays latent for decades.

What I found most disturbing was one man called in, and said he helped his GF staple art work into the wall until he saw a tiny, postage stamp warning saying, "don't disturb the walls, asbestos". I was shock aghast at that. As he said how many other un witting teachers in the 75 5 of schools that have this are pinning art work or whatever into the walls and releasing this killer material?

I really want to raise awareness about it. I am in shock

Whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 02-Dec-13 22:05:17

I've worked in a school with asbestos and we were not allowed to put things into the ceilings as the tiles contained asbestos.

rabbitstew Sun 01-Dec-13 21:03:37

To be honest, I think you'd have to have a pretty spectacular staple gun to create the same asbestos risk as drilling into a wall to put up shelves, clam. However, it is bad that you are not privy to the information - who knows what you might or might not be doing to the walls?!

clam Sun 01-Dec-13 19:39:24

I had a workman round to my classroom recently asking where I wanted my new bookshelves putting. I showed him and he consulted a little map from his pocket and said "sorry love, can't go there, there's asbestos in that wall."
I've stapled things in there before now!! How come he has a little map and knows about it, but I, the class teacher with the staple gun isn't privy to the information?

Retropear Sun 01-Dec-13 13:40:22

That is true Rabbit.

We pulled out of a house because it had an asbestos roof that needed replacing(would have cost ££££££ to do it safely).Was clueless until we got the report back.

The amount of shitty places we've rented over the years too.confused

rabbitstew Sun 01-Dec-13 12:27:06

That the government doesn't care?

straggle Sun 01-Dec-13 10:51:12

Someone mentioned local authority schools on this thread but independent schools and other maintained schools that are required to have their own asbestos management plan don"t necessarily comply with regulations. This 2011 press release suggests a third of independent schools inspected by the HSE didn't comply, so teachers and pupils may be much more at risk outside LA schools than in them. In maintained schools teachers are more likely to be in classrooms and if there was a problem that affected children the teaching unions would be the first to voice their concern.

Interesting that the Daily Mail article acknowledges the valuable role of the unions here!

At the same time the government considered cutting its asbestos policy work to save money. What message does that send out?

rabbitstew Sun 01-Dec-13 10:07:43

(she says, thinking about it....)

rabbitstew Sun 01-Dec-13 09:50:44

Retropear - school is highly unlikely to be the only place you've been exposed to asbestos. Better not to focus on what has already happened and can't be changed, because it won't change your risk to think about it. I wonder how many private houses you've been in where the owners have had their bathroom redone, or have been sticking pictures on their walls, or have been doing DIY? Or how many building sites you've walked past where they've been knocking down an old building without a single "bubble" in sight? Schools are not the only buildings in the UK to contain asbestos, nor the only buildings that are allowed to get a bit run down when they shouldn't.

mrz Sun 01-Dec-13 09:39:33

although as wonkylegs says the site has it's own agenda.

Retropear Sun 01-Dec-13 09:25:25

Yes this is why I am worried.

I was teaching in a Victorian school when they literally drilled through my classroom wall whilst teaching to put in new toilets.

We always had backing boards on the walls,surely that would give some protection?

mrz Sun 01-Dec-13 09:01:43

The primary school I attended as a child was recently pulled down to make way for a larger building and the demolition took place inside a "plastic bubble" by men wearing full breathing apparatus. it was built 88 years ago. Strange when indoor toilets were added some 50 years ago asbestos was removed while lessons went on around the builders.

2468Motorway Sun 01-Dec-13 07:20:41


You might enjoy a book called 'Reckoning with Risk' . It's excellent on our inability to correctly assess risk.

Retropear Sun 01-Dec-13 06:55:00

What age of schools is this most common in and do backing boards attached to the walls give some protection?

rabbitstew Sun 01-Dec-13 00:51:00

In fact, in general, people seem to behave very strangely around risk, so it is genuinely difficult to get the message right and behave in proportionate ways. I seriously resented being told about listeriosis in pregnancy, because I then felt obliged to alter my diet, avoiding several extremely nutritious foods I normally enjoyed, which was stressful, and panicked a bit if I accidentally ate something I "shouldn't" have, or couldn't guarantee the safety of because I'd not prepared it... all over something I was really, truly, extremely unlikely ever to get, even while pregnant. I thus swapped the pleasure of lots of nutritious foods and an exceptionally small risk of something horrible happening, for guaranteed extra stress and inconvenience and a more limited diet. And then the newspapers have the cheek to report how harmful stress in pregnancy might be. Well, whose bl**dy fault is that?!... I would rather not have had all the dire warnings and advice in the first place - not at a time in my life when hormones and new-parent-to-be emotions made it hard to see things entirely rationally. It's not as if I wasn't, in any event, more at risk of killing both myself and my baby by crossing the road, but I didn't stop doing that while I was pregnant.

Not that this is related to asbestos, it just still annoys me. grin

rabbitstew Sat 30-Nov-13 23:31:18

IamFatherChristmasNOTSanta - I agree, people should be made aware of the risks, but I find it quite frustrating that so many people still seem to be so ignorant despite the fact I think the risks have been quite widely publicised. People seem capable of forgetting what they are supposed to be aware of very quickly after being told. I'm not sure how so many people working currently in schools have managed to avoid being aware of the risks (if there really are great numbers of these people). And to put it into perspective, whilst it is one of the worst cancers you can get, your background risk of getting it is currently about 1 in 1,000 - not like the 1 in 10 chance of a 1940s born carpenter. People still smoke, drink, take illegal drugs, have unprotected sex with multiple partners, despite warnings, and despite the risks from these things being far more likely to become reality - and if there hasn't been a warning in the last 6 months, some people even seem to think it's because the risk has gone away.

IamFatherChristmasNOTsanta Sat 30-Nov-13 23:18:17


I think one of the more worrying things about the cancer caused by A is that its terminal and one of the worst cancers you can get. People have got it from washing clothes of workers exposed.

,My DH building had some removed recently and the whole floor was sealed off people in nuclear suits etc.

I just think a simple plan to keep teachers and children safe though, from such silly things as pinning stuff into the walls would be a good basic start to keep everyone protected from such needless exposure.

IamFatherChristmasNOTsanta Sat 30-Nov-13 23:14:12

I also got the impression from the radio interview that the stats are going to be rising considerably as the next wave of people exposed comes through, probably my 70's born generation.

rabbitstew Sat 30-Nov-13 23:13:43

I don't see anyone dismissing anyone else's concerns casually, mrz. People should be aware of environmental hazards. I also worry about pollution from cars and industry, lead paint, mercury poisoning, global warming. None of these things should be dismissed casually. I would love to see all schools free of asbestos, given that our children, who are the most vulnerable, spend so much time in them, but I also understand that asbestos is found all over the place and I wouldn't be hugely more trusting of its safe mass removal than ensuring it is kept safely in place, or much more trusting of supposedly safe heat and fire resistant alternatives to asbestos, to be perfectly honest.

IamFatherChristmasNOTsanta Sat 30-Nov-13 23:12:46

I was most surprised by the caller whose partner was staple gunning stuff to a wall and he happened to notice a teeny sign saying, this wall has A or something.

Surely, just as a bottom line measure all schools should have an A risk done, as per Jenny70 AND, where there is the stuff, all new staff should be made very aware of the areas where it is, not to pin stuff in and also, what A does to you.

I appreciate you cannot combate it, I have probably been exposed at home, I am sure I remember playing with old lagging and some sort of insulation board.

However, we do know about it now, and our children if in schools where it is, do not need to be needlessly exposed, nor the teachers just because its not being flagged up properly.

Proper signs where it is, quick maintenance where repairs are the radio interview it was said as 60's built schools fall into repair and they cant afford to repair quickly risks rise...

so many people have lost someone to it, sorry for your loss Mrz flowers

mrz Sat 30-Nov-13 22:50:43

For the record I don't find the stats alarming but neither would I dismiss them wonkylegs

mrz Sat 30-Nov-13 22:48:03

Yes wonkylegs just as it would be foolish to dismiss concerns so casually and I speak as the daughter of someone who died from workplace exposure to asbestos and was told for decades it was safe

lalouche Sat 30-Nov-13 22:01:34

Gosh rabbitstew that's a shocking statistic. My dad was a foundry worker (yes, born in the 40s) and used to come home doused in the stuff. I worry especially about him now, but also about my mum, me and my sibling. There was so much asbestos around and so much potential for very extensive exposure, especially until the 70s or 80s. I too suspect that pinning artwork on walls is quite low down on the list of likely reasons for developing mesothelioma.

rabbitstew Sat 30-Nov-13 21:13:52

In fact, the poor old 1940s born carpenters have a 1 in 10 chance of some kind of asbestos-related lung cancer.

rabbitstew Sat 30-Nov-13 21:07:21

From the HSE: "Occupational analyses of female mesothelioma deaths are more difficult to interpret because a lower proportion is caused directly by occupational exposures. Occupations are recorded on death certificates as a matter of course, and so inevitably there are various occupations that are recorded in appreciable numbers on female mesothelioma death certificates. However, these occupations are recorded with the frequency expected if in fact there was no difference in risk between occupational groups. This suggests that where exposure to asbestos did occur at work – for example, due to unwitting exposure caused by others working with asbestos in the vicinity – it was no more likely in any particular occupational group.
The recent epidemiological study supports this view. It suggests that only a minority (around a third) of mesotheliomas in women are a result of either occupational or domestic exposures. This, together with the fact that deaths among women have also increased over the last 4 decades, implies that there has been an increase in the average background mesothelioma risk among both older women (and men) due to exposures that are not readily identifiable. Such exposures could have taken place in a wide variety of settings during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when asbestos was being widely used within the building industry."

Also: "Among teachers, for example, 7 of the 11 male mesotheliomas and 7 of the 18 female cases had also worked in higher risk jobs."

You wouldn't want to be a male carpenter born in the 1940s who worked for 10 years or more - your risk of getting mesothelioma is, according to the HSE, 1 in 17, with an even higher risk if you include all asbestos-related lung cancers.

wonkylegs Sat 30-Nov-13 20:45:47

Mrz - I would be careful in taking a site that campaigns only on this specific issue as gospel. It is a little biased on it's evidence base and some of it's statements have a hint of conspiracy theory which is a shame as it does have some valid points, but they have cherry picked their evidence to fit their argument and that alone.
If you look at teaching within the wider occupational research the stats quoted start to look a whole lot less alarming.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now