Asbestos report on Welsh school finally released

Released 28/05/2013

HSE to release asbestos report findings on a Welsh school closed last year due to asbestos levels, following accusations of a cover up

The Health and Safety Executive has agreed to publish a report into asbestos levels at a Welsh school after accusations of a cover up.

Cwmcarn High School in Caerphilly, Wales has been closed for six months due to an asbestos scare last October. A report by Santia Asbestos Management Limited had said airborne fibres at the school were 10 times higher than the accepted safe level. However, the HSE later released a statement saying: “Having made both visual checks of the fabric and considering the results of the HSL testing, HSE believes it is an essentially uncontaminated school. However, any decision on whether it should reopen rests with the school governors. It is their choice whether to use the HSL report in any decision making.” The school was closed last October and remains so.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and AMiE, ATL’s section for leaders in education, said that the HSE’s unwillingness to publish its report until now had raised suspicions about the accuracy of its findings.  “Up until now the HSE’s reluctance to release its findings smacked of a cover up of an incident serious enough to require the school to close and still be closed six months on. 

“We hope that the report will lend weight to ATL’s call for an independent review into the safety of asbestos in all schools and colleges in the UK.  Until this happens no one knows how many more schools and colleges are also unsafe and exposing children and teachers to asbestos.”

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