August 30, 2018

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HSE investigating school gauze mats for asbestos

The HSE has said it has been made aware that two UK laboratory supply companies have supplied schools and potentially other users with gauze mats containing asbestos.

BunsenThe metal gauze mats are designed for use over Bunsen burners.

In a statement, a HSE spokesperson said: “While we assess the overall risk of exposure to be low, we have taken swift action.

“We have ensured that both of the supply companies concerned immediately ceased supply of the gauze mats and are overseeing arrangements to contact affected customers and provide precautionary advice on how the mats should be disposed of safely.

“We are working closely with Department for Education, education departments in Scotland and Wales as well as CLEAPSS (Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services).

“This will help us ensure that schools, colleges, local regulators, and others who may have supplied or purchased similar products are directed to our advice.

“We are also investigating how these particular gauze mats came into circulation. Breaches of the restrictions on the supply of asbestos are taken very seriously by HSE.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) has also announced that working to establish whether pupils in Northern Ireland have been affected by asbestos in classrooms.

The HSE in England has released some Advice to users of Bunsen burner wire gauzes that may contain asbestos.

School asbestos exposure leads to £200k fine for council

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Nigel Bown
Nigel Bown
2 years ago

I remember using these at school in the 60’s as I recall they were not in the best condition , plus the fume cupboard was lined with asbestos. and no doubt the whole school was full of it

Steven Nagle
Steven Nagle
2 years ago

I was told in 1994-1999 at school that they contained asbestos by science teachers but “it wasn’t harmful”. Obviously a few PhD’s need to be revoked 😉

Robin Gatenby
Robin Gatenby
2 years ago

Am I alone in thinking it a little odd that the suppliers haven’t been identified? I am not currently working with any schools but do have some involvement with public sector labs so it would be useful to be able to check if it is the same supplier(s). I also clearly remember the asbestos gauzes and fume cupboards in the ’70s classrooms – even had sheets of asbestos to stand the Bunsen burner on to protect the bench usually chipped or cracked! Our school was a 1960/70’s build so mainly asbestos held together with a range of other building products!!!… Read more »