Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: New register offers help for those worried about exposure to asbestos

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in Wales, has worked with its specialist law firm Thompsons Solicitors to set up a register to assist those worried about exposure to asbestos in Welsh schools.

It follows the closure of Cwmcarn High School following the discovery of asbestos, and the subsequent announcement by Education Minister Leighton Andrews that asbestos levels in all Welsh schools should be checked.

The new asbestos register will help people in the event they ever develop an asbestos-related disease. It will also be used to keep those who register up-to-date on changes to the law on potential compensation claims.

A questionnaire is being issued to teachers. Those worried about exposure are being encouraged to contact the NASUWT. Other school employees and parents can find more information at www.thompsons.law.co.uk or at www.nasuwt.org.uk/asbestos

The NASUWT and Thompsons Solicitors have also produced a factsheet ‘Asbestos in Welsh Schools: what to do if you’re worried about exposure to asbestos’.

Available in Welsh and English, the factsheet contains practical advice and useful contacts for parents, teachers and others who have worked in schools in Wales. A copy is available from the NASUWT and Thompsons Solicitors and is available on their websites.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Nothing is more important than the health and welfare of the children and young people in our schools and the staff who work in them.  We have welcomed the fact that the Welsh Government is taking this potentially life-threatening situation seriously.”

Rex Phillips, NASUWT Cymru Organiser, said:

“We understand that there will be many anxious staff and parents across Wales and our priority now is to provide our members with practical advice and support.”

Amanda Jones from Thompsons Solicitors in Wales, said:

“The creation of this register and the publication of the factsheet is designed to reassure staff and parents who are worried about exposure to asbestos that help and guidance is to hand.

“Some organisations will try to scaremonger, but it's important to understand that not everyone who is exposed to asbestos goes on to develop an illness as a result. There are many people who have been exposed to asbestos in the past who have never suffered any health problems."

ENDS

Notes to editors

A copy of the factsheet is attached



Ben Padley,

Press and Media Officer,

Campaigns and Communications,

NASUWT

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Rednal

Birmingham

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0121 457 6269

07785 463 119

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