Warm Air Classroom Heating Systems and Asbestos Exposure

On 3rd December 2012 the Asbestos in Schools (AiS) committee proposed that the Department for Education (DfE) urgently warn schools of the dangers inherent in these heaters1 so that measures can be taken to prevent the release of asbestos fibres. That warning has not so far been issued. Both the independent and Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) series of tests have confirmed the potential for significant fibre release and trade unions have today written to the DfE to demand that they issue a warning to  all schools. 

The joint JUAC and AIS comment in relation to the HSL report on Cwmcarn is attached. JUAC-AIS_comment

The strategy is to focus on the fact that the HSL report confirms that there has been a significant amosite fibre release from the heaters in the school.  UNISON will be submitting this to the All Wales Cancer Alliance at 4pm.

Cwmcarn High School asbestos: New report plays down risk

You may have seen coverage on the BBC website of a new report on asbestos at Cwmcarn High School, which plays down the risk at the school. UNISON continues to believe that the risk is significant.

An earlier report by  Santia Asbestos Management Limited said asbestos in the roof may have been blown by the heating system, and airborne fibres were 10 times higher than the accepted levels. In UNISON’s view demolition is the safest option for staff and pupils.

The school has also commissioned its own independent asbestos inspection report.


1. A  common form of heating in system built schools from the early 1950s was “forced warm air heating,” and Andrews Weatherfoil was one of the leading makes. Hot water was circulated around the building into heating cabinets in the walls, where fans sucked in air from the room, passed it over heating elements and emitted the hot air through grilles back into the room again.

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