Unite the union has submitted a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in response to a number of recent asbestos incidents across the country.
In Aberdeen, Unite the union has been alarmed at the ineffective response by Aberdeen City Council officials on the safety risk to their employees and to the public following several asbestos incidents at the Bridge of Don Academy, Hazelwood Academy and a residential property.
An internal council investigation highlighted that in the Bridge of Don incident there was no emergency response as a line manager “forgot” about the incident for five days despite Unite repeatedly raising our concerns.
In March 2018, due to a blaze in Glasgow which housed Victoria’s nightclub, an asbestos alert was issued to local residents. In 2013, Scotland’s largest health board was also fined £6,000 for failing to clear asbestos from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill in Glasgow. In 2017, a Daily Record newspaper investigation also revealed that more than 1600 state nurseries, primaries and secondary schools contain asbestos.
Unite through the FOI requests to both Aberdeen and Glasgow City Councils are seeking to establish whether effective policies and procedures are uniformly in place to effectively deal with potential and established asbestos incidents. The local authorities are expected to respond to Unite’s requests by the 25 September.
Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty said:
“There is great concern that exposure to asbestos is not being robustly and strongly responded to when incidents occur in line with health and safety procedures. This has been established in Aberdeen despite Unite repeatedly raising our concerns when the incidents became known to us.
“However, Unite suspects that this is not an issue exclusive to this one local authority. For these reasons, the union has submitted a number of FOI’s in order to ascertain whether procedures are being responded to immediately and with consistency, if not then workers and the wider public are at risk.”