Asbestos hbeA Northern Ireland Grammar School has appeared at Belfast Crown Court charged with Asbestos failures in their school. An appointed representative on behalf of the school board of governors of Bloomfield Collegiate,  pleaded guilty to failing to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises.

The HSE prosecuted Bloomfield Collegiate Grammar School for not having a suitable asbestos survey carried out on the preparatory school, housed within the grounds of the Astoria Gardens premises in East Belfast.

The appointed representative also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that non-employees were not exposed to the risks of asbestosis. No plea was entered on the third count of failing to ensure the health and safety of all employees, so sentencing was adjourned until the plea was heard.

The private primary school at Bloomfield Collegiate was built in the late 1960s and was used up until the summer of 2011. However, it was also used as an after-schools facility, a pre-school for children under primary age as well as a kindergarten. Overall the building was used regularly by the pupils, teachers, cleaners and administration staff.

It was only in May 2012 that the school carried out an Asbestos survey on the school, which uncovered asbestos-containing materials.

The Health and Safety Executive’s scientific services then carried out a survey and found high levels of asbestos fibres in the air as well as asbestos debris in the back of some cupboards. That HSE survey found that staff, contractors and children using the building were indeed at risk of exposure to asbestos.