Last Updated on October 20, 2016 by Kirsty Smithson
A Teacher diagnosed with mesothelioma thinks Kent school is to blame, Sevenoaks, and has specialist lawyers investigating on his behalf.
Michael Polley, aged 65, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2016. He was a teacher at Sevenoaks school from 1977 to 1981.
The diagnosis came as a huge shock to Mr Polley and his family, who never thought he would develop a terminal asbestos related illness having worked as a teacher.
Mr Polley worked in a classroom in a part of the building which was surveyed in 2006 and confirmed to contain asbestos. The survey also revealed asbestos was present in other buildings around the school.
Mr Polley recalls, “Although my employment at the school was fairly brief, there were a lot of works carried out during my time there. In particular, I remember a building known as School House having a significant refurbishment done.”
“I would walk right past these works every day as I made my way into the school to my classroom. The area was incredibly dusty but we were never informed about any potentially harmful materials being disrupted.”
A spokesperson from Sevenoaks responded to the claims made by Mr Polley, “Although Mr Polley left the school almost 35 years ago, on first hearing about his serious illness, the school undertook a review into the conditions during the short time he taught at the school.”
“We managed to speak with a member of staff who was closely involved in the maintenance of the school at that time. He has indicated that the location of asbestos was such that there was no risk to either pupils or teaching staff.”
“While we are very sorry to hear about Mr Polley’s serious illness, we do not believe he would have been exposed to any asbestos dust or fibre during the course of his work at Sevenoaks School in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”
According to the lawyers who have taken on Mr Polley’s case, a total of 228 teachers so far across the UK have been diagnosed with mesothelioma since the year 1980.
They say, “Unfortunately, as a teacher who worked at the school for only a few years, Mr Polley’s knowledge about the school buildings itself is limited.”
“We are hoping that others working at the school with more knowledge about the fabric of the buildings and the works carried out at the school will come forward and shed further light on this.”
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
Alternatively, to book onto one of our asbestos training courses, please call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/
[ap-twitter-feed]Published Oct 20, 2016