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Asbestos incident classroom open again

By Staff Copy

EMERGENCY repairs have been carried out at a city primary school after an asbestos scare.

A classroom at Norwood Primary School, in Gunthorpe, was closed off last week after a hole was found in the ceiling – exposing insulation boards which contained asbestos – during routine health and safety work.

The hole, about the size of a 10 pence piece, was found during a routine health and safety walk, and the room was immediately sealed off and classes moved to one of the IT rooms.

Specially trained inspectors from Peterborough City Council were called in the next morning to assess the danger posed by the hole.

Headteacher Deborah Reynolds said: “The surveyors ruled there was no significant immediate risk to health, as upon inspection there were no loose fibres. Asbestos is only hazardous to health when fibres are disturbed and then inhaled.”

“As a school, the safety and well being of our children is of paramount importance.”

It is believed the damage was caused when filling material used in the original construction fell through, exposing the abestos-insulation boards in the ceiling.

Contractors repaired the cavity after the inspectors left, and a final inspection was made before classes resumed.

Mrs Reynolds said: “Like many schools, we are currently in close association with the Local Education Authority working to replace any asbestos, so that this kind of disruption doesn’t happen again.”

She added: “A newsletter to parents informed them that there had been an issue with the ceiling. We shared our concerns with parents and reassured them that at no time were the children at any risk.”

“One parent came to visit me after hearing about the incident, but after discussing the matter they left reassured that we had rigorously followed all the necessary health and safety procedures.”

Council spokeswoman Rachael Gordon said: “The school closed the classroom in line with our property guidelines.

“The classroom was not opened again until a repair had been completed and it had been fully inspected and deemed safe for use."

The full article contains 340 words and appears in Peterborough ET newspaper.

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  • Last Updated: 23 January 2009 2:38 PM
  • Source: Peterborough ET
  • Location: Peterborough