Fire safety and exposure to asbestos risk

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Motion #23
  • Brent

THAT Conference notes that the Grenfell fire showed how ignoring and weakening safety regulations in order to cut costs led to the horrific deaths of about 80 residents.

Conference congratulates the National Education Union, Asbestos in Schools and the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) for the work they have done to increase awareness of the risk from fire and asbestos in our schools but notes that the lives of staff and pupils are still at risk because of Government inaction. Fire also increases the risk of asbestos.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to put forward to the Joint Executive Council that the Joint Executive Council continue to support JUAC and work with other unions to urge the Government to:

(i) undertake an urgent audit of all school buildings to determine whether they meet fire safety regulations, and to determine the existence of cladding similar to the type used on Grenfell Tower

(ii) review school safety regulations and require sprinkler systems in all new and refurbished schools, safe compartmentalisation and cladding of limited combustibility

(iii) undertake an asbestos condition survey of all school asbestos, including inaccessible and hidden asbestos that is currently not risk assessed, in order to inform the phased removal of asbestos commencing with the removal of the most dangerous first

(iv) initiate an action plan to ensure that issues identified through fire safety and asbestos condition surveys receive adequate funding and are dealt with appropriately and safely

(v) provide specific guidance to union health and safety representatives and joint union safety committees on fire safety and asbestos management issues in schools and particularly those that have an increased risk from fire and asbestos such as many of the 12,000 system-built schools built in the 1960s and 1970s.