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Calls for greater staff protection after college asbestos death

18 November 2011

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A cleaner at Grimsby College died of cancer after working in classrooms at the college that contained asbestos, a tribunal has ruled.

UCU today said colleges and universities had to provide better protection from asbestos poisoning after it was also revealed this week that the University of Lincoln was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £12,000 to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for not dealing with asbestos on its campus.
 
Asbestos-related diseases kill around 5,000 people a year and UCU said it was essential that institutions met their legal duties and carried out thorough risk assessments of buildings and classrooms.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Around 5,000 people a year die because of asbestos-related diseases. The health of staff and students must be a priority for institutions. Even low-level exposure to asbestos over a short period of time can lead to cases of cancer.
 
'Employers must take their legal duties more seriously and carry out the necessary safety checks. It is really important that institutions consult and work with trade unions to develop plans for safely managing asbestos levels.'


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