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  3. Worcester school in asbestos wrangle with HSE

A school in Worcester has been issued with a letter from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following the removal of asbestos from its premises.

The HSE received a complaint from Unison, the public service union, after a small outbuilding roof was knocked down by two 18-year-olds while they were demolishing the structure.

According to the head teacher of Christopher Whitehead Language College, Neil Morris, the building at the centre of the complaint was a small outbuilding, the roof of which was smaller than a door. It had to be knocked down as it was at risk of falling down. Advice had been given to the school by Worcestershire County Council, and the college had adhered to the recommendations by collecting the asbestos in double bagging and conducting the work in wet weather.

However, two teenaged employees had knocked the roof down, along with the asbestos. The headteacher stated that had been a concern and that they should have adopted a safer procedure for its removal. He added that the college had taken action to improve safety, although he insists that all safety precautions are in place and are 'exemplary'. The complaint was upheld and a letter stating that the school has breached health and safety rules was issued to the college.

Unison are pleased with the outcome, stating that safety concerns remain for the school pupils, parents and staff. The use of PPE and protective workwear is required when handling any toxic substances like asbestos.

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