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General Chat Thread, Serious advice needed re: Health & safety in General; We've been informed that over the next two weeks (Easter hols here) the school will be shut to ALL staff ...
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    MK-2's Avatar
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    Serious advice needed re: Health & safety

    We've been informed that over the next two weeks (Easter hols here) the school will be shut to ALL staff while builders check for asbestos.
    The bursar has just been in and said no thats a lie, school is open to you, they are checking half the school and its perfectly safe, they will put curtains up over the doors near your office and will be checking. we're pretty sure there's none in the school but they need to check.
    So we are being made to come in to a school that will be empty of all staff but us, while men in white suits and respirators check for asbestos, and we will be sat in our office not knowing if we are exposed.

    Where do we stand legally on refusing to come in? I'm sorry but one woman saying its perfectly safe wont stop the possibility of inhaling asbestos fibres.
    We will have nothing to do as we cannot enter the rooms we need to, so we will be in for the sake of being in, and possibly being exposed.

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    iatkinson's Avatar
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    First thing i'd do is ask if the bursars coming in? If no staff then there's no way you should be ab exception and I think unions would agree. If school makes you come in then i'd be taking legal action against them on health and safety grounds. Not sure on exact legal ramicifations though.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Talk to your union rep.

    Generally asbestos contractors will totally seal off an area that they're working on, but obviously if they're cowbows you don't want to take that risk.

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    Ask to see her risk assessment.
    By law she is required to do this.

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    either its closed or its not surely. How thoughtless are some people, risking peoples health so that they can have someone to shout at when they forget their password.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Ask to see her risk assessment.
    By law she is required to do this.
    Take camera to record face.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    talking to her is a no no. she has deliberately lied to the head before saying we've made her cry by being abusive and shouting at her.
    the caretaker came in and said according to health and safety if the builders say its safe, you come in. no ifs or buts

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Talk to the head, or go in with head / other member of staff, better still ask in writting for risk assesment. Now that will get her attention.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Don't forget she could be saying that the school is closed to just keep teachers away. Otherwise you have dribs and drabs coming in randomly in various areas of the school, normally disturbing any work even with big signs. It is probably simpler this way to tell the teachers to just keep away. We have had painters leave because teachers came in and kicked 2 paint pots over, stepped in a tray and nearly knock a guy off a ladder!

    But as others have said do check with union.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    We did the same. Teachers could not come in but we could. Made life easier for the folk doing the clearup. Everything was well sealed and regularly checked. Not a risk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    We did the same. Teachers could not come in but we could. Made life easier for the folk doing the clearup. Everything was well sealed and regularly checked. Not a risk.
    Same here, and its sooooo nice to have noone else in with you.

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    Friez's Avatar
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    Like others have said, Asbestos removals usually seal off an area entirely (unless they're cowboys, in whichcase you can probably take comfort in the fact that they'll die of some lung related disease when they get a bit older! Karma at it's finest).

    Proper Asbestos removals take Health and Safety very seriously because it's their line of work to basically remove something that is harmful to Health.

    IF the entire school is officially shut to everyone (not just to teachers), then don't come in, but if they're only working in a specific area and they're sealing it off you should be quite okay. But this is generally from experience, what actual legislation says I don't know.

    But funny you mention this, I've walked into work before and it's been a surprise to see the Asbestos guys in!

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK-2 View Post
    We've been informed that over the next two weeks (Easter hols here) the school will be shut to ALL staff while builders check for asbestos.
    Very low/no risk if they are just checking for it. They probably don't want the teachers in because they will all panic and fly off the handle. ;-)

    The forms of asbestos used in buildings is normally quite safe if undisturbed. What I would think is happening is that a register is being drawn up to enable work to be planned so as to avoid disturbing it.

    If any firm is registered with the LA for removal they will fully understand how to seal off an area they are working in.

    Have a look at the asbestos watchdog site for further reassurance.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    ok as a follow up. came in today. theres a guy working down the bottom corridor in full white suit rig but without the face mask. nothing sealed off.
    my boss went down to talk to him and he said i wasn't aware you were in the building, and we weren't informed we were to seal it off, we thought we were alone in the building.

    whats best action to take now, as this is now a blatant lie by the bursar who has put our health in danger. he said that had he found any sign of asbestos he would have put his mask on.
    so nobody informed him we were in the building, and nobody told him to seal off as he was under the impression the building was empty.

    i'm trying to find the H&S contact for unison in this area, and my boss is writing a letter to the head.

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    russdev's Avatar
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    This point I would as you are doing write to head informing that your health has been put at risk and that you are leaving until he/she can in writing confirm it i safe for you to work and will take full liability if found to be unsafe.

    In letter put details of all events etc.

    Also see if can get heads home telephone number if poss? and ring to say that got letter going home until issue can be resolved.

    Also contact local unison rep straight away tell them what you are doing (so they can offer any advice before you give letter over etc)

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