Living with Mesothelioma -My Diary- HSE have printed a great report for Asbestos In Schools -Easington MP Grahame Morris has signed a Parliamentary motion calling for the Government to invest in a long-term sustainable mesothelioma research plan.

Finding it hard to sleep for long periods. Couple of hours and then wide awake again.

This means I drop off during the day and thats it the sleep pattern is all wrong.

We worked hard in the garden again and Ray cleared rubbish out of the shed. Then after lucnch i finished it for him. The weather is so hot that I think I have got hay fever and not a cold. So much sneezing.

There has been a lot of feedback about how inspirational my speech was. Very proud. Seem to have reached so many. Dont really know where I go from here, how to use it to its best advantage in my fight for awareness.

No doubt my life will unfold and I will see where to concentrate next.

Two hot od the press articles today I keep saying 2014 is the year things started to move.

The Asbestos in Schools report is very good and will go along way to managing Asbestos in Schools

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published the results of its latest asbestos in schools inspection initiative, which took place in 2013/14.

HSE inspected a carefully selected random sample of 153 non-local authority schools between April 2013 and January 2014, which included independent, voluntary aided and foundation schools, free schools and academies.

The majority of schools inspected (71 per cent) required either no further action or were given straightforward, simple advice. However, 29 per cent (44 schools) received written advice from HSE, and 13 per cent (20 schools) were subject to enforcement action, in the form of improvement notices.

The improvement notices set out a requirement for recipient schools to improve arrangements for managing asbestos. Enforcement action was taken over failures such as training staff and producing written management plans – not because staff or pupils were considered at significant risk of exposure, but because these are vital elements of the required control measures.

Compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations in England, Scotland and Wales showed an overall improvement compared with that found in a similar survey and inspection programme of 164 schools outside local authority control in 2010/11 where 41 improvement notices were served on 28 schools..

Geoff Cox, the Head of HSE’s Public Services Sector, said:

“Over the last few years there has been a lot of work by stakeholders across the school sector to raise awareness of the duty to manage asbestos. It is really encouraging to see that awareness of the requirements has increased since our previous inspection initiative.

“That said, schools should not be under any illusion – managing asbestos requires ongoing attention. Schools now have access to a wealth of guidance setting out clear and straightforward steps to achieve and maintain compliance.

“Where duty holders fall below acceptable standards, HSE has taken, and will continue to take, enforcement action”

The inspections revealed a number of common themes in those cases where schools were falling short of the requirements. HSE has published its findings to help share more widely what can be learned from them.

All schools must ensure they have up to date records of asbestos containing materials in their school – this is to make sure that the school knows the location of any asbestos containing materials that could be damaged or disturbed by normal activities, by foreseeable maintenance, or when installing new equipment.

Training is essential for maintenance staff whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos and every school needs a robust system to alert anyone who may disturb asbestos at the school.  The key group of personnel at risk from asbestos is tradespeople – particularly those undertaking maintenance activities.  It is vital that schools ensure that anyone who may disturb asbestos is made aware of its location and condition.

Asbestos which is in good condition and remains undamaged and undisturbed does not pose any significant risk to health if it is managed in compliance with the legal requirements and according to HSE’s published guidance.


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

2.  A full list of schools inspected and the results of the inspection is available online at:

3. Inspectors took enforcement action in 20 schools targeting the following issues:

No written asbestos management plan – 8 schools

Failure to undertake survey/assessment or an inadequate assessment of the presence of asbestos containing materials – 8 schools

Failure to effectively manage the risks or implement a suitable system to manage the risks from asbestos – 2 schools

Inadequate training and information for employees – 2 schools

Details of the last inspection programme in 2010/11 are available

4. Duty to Manage: The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, regulation 4 requires duty holders with a legal responsibility for non-domestic premises to manage the risk from any asbestos that may be present. For more information visit

5. Frontline HSE Inspectors work with duty holders in a proportionate and consistent way to improve health and safety performance. This includes:

Advice: This provides guidance on practical improvements that can be made. Though advice has no legal standing, failure to follow it may result in further enforcement action being taken.

Improvement Notice: This sets a legal timeframe for a particular situation to be resolved. There is not considered to be an immediate danger. Employers failing to meet the terms of a notice by the expiry date may be subject to legal proceedings.

Prohibition Notice: This is served where an employer/ duty holder is failing to protect employees and the public and there is a risk of serious personal injury. A prohibition notice deals with immediate danger and the work/ activity must stop immediately, while the issue is resolved.

Commons Chamber

Easington MP Grahame Morris has signed a Parliamentary motion calling for the Government to invest in a long-term sustainable mesothelioma research plan.

Mesothelioma occurs following exposure to the deadly asbestos fibres which are still present in many buildings. Approximately 2,500 people die from mesothelioma every year in the UK. The numbers are not predicted to fall before 2017 at the earliest.

Mr Morris says: “Mesothelioma is a traumatic disease and has had a devastating impact on thousands of families in County Durham. It often takes 40-50 years for symptoms to present themselves after exposure so it is vital we invest in research now for the long term.”

In terms of research funding mesothelioma receives considerably less in relation to other major cancers. Bowel cancer research gets £22 million, breast cancer research gets £41 million and leukaemia research £32 million. Mesothelioma in contrast receives just £1.4 million.

The Parliamentary motion states that mesothelioma is an invasive form of lung cancer and recognises there is no cure for the disease. It goes on to note the UK has the highest rate of the disease in the world and over the next 30 years more than 50,000 people will die of mesothelioma unless new treatments are found. It calls on the Government to facilitate the establishment of a long-term sustainable mesothelioma research scheme funded by the insurance industry.

Mr Morris added: “I am appalled that funding for this aggressive and terminal disease, with life expectancy from diagnosis only 9 months, receives such little research funding compared to other cancers.

Important legislation has recently been passed that ensures mesothelioma sufferers, once denied compensation because they couldn’t trace former employers or their insurance companies, will now receive 75% of the compensation they would have been entitled to from a specially created fund through a levy on insurance companies.

I believe victims of mesothelioma should receive 100% of the compensation they are entitled too, however, since these proposals have been rejected, I believe this unrecovered money should be used to fund a long term research scheme, to the benefit of all sufferers and to give hope to the victims of mesothelioma.”


That this House notes with concern that mesothelioma is an invasive form of lung cancer caused primarily by prior exposure to asbestos; recognises that there is currently no cure for this devastating disease and that mesothelioma patients frequently have a very short life expectancy and experience complex debilitating symptoms; further notes that the UK has the highest rate of the disease in the world and that over the next 30 years more than 50,000 people will die of mesothelioma in the UK unless new treatments are found; believes that investment in research into the causes and potential cures for mesothelioma is desperately needed; and calls on the Government to facilitate the establishment of a long-term sustainable mesothelioma research scheme funded by the insurance industry.

Rays Blog

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