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Asbestos (2019)

Request

  1. The type of asbestos (white, brown, blue) present in the House of Commons and what percentage of the total asbestos present is of each type.
  2. The date and outcome of the last independent audit or inspection of the House of Common's Asbestos Management Plans.
  3. The details of any reported incidents of asbestos exposure between 2010 and 2019.
  4. Details of any improvement or prohibition notice served or guidance issued by the HSE in relation to the management of asbestos in the House of Commons in the last 5 years.
  5. The number of House of Commons employees (existing and retired), MPs (current or past) or their staff (existing and retired) that have pursued a claim for exposure to asbestos within the House of Commons.
  6. The number of these claims that have been settled.
  7. The amount of money that has been paid in settlement of these claims (with or without accepting responsibility).
  8. The details of training offered to House of Commons employees or MPs and their staffers to recognise and/or inspect for asbestos presence.
  9. The number of times that you have dealt with a leaky roof or a broken window or a damaged wall panel, during the past 5 years. (i.e. where the fabric of the building has been disturbed).
  10. Finally, details of when and why you have commissioned emergency asbestos air testing across the House of Commons in the past 5 years.

 

Response

  1. The type of asbestos (white, brown, blue) present in the House of Commons and what percentage of the total asbestos present is of each type.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  The breakdown of the percentages for the types of asbestos identified within the palace is as follows;
    • Chrysotile 33% (White)
    • Amphiboles (excluding crocidolite) 45% (Brown)
    • Crocidolite 22% (Blue)
  2. The date and outcome of the last independent audit or inspection of the House of Common's Asbestos Management Plans.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  The last audit carried out independently was August 2019.
    A copy of the audit showing the areas reviewed and the recommendations, the areas identified for improvement are being factored into the new asbestos Policy and also the new electronic system that will be used to manage asbestos hazards within the building.
  3. The details of any reported incidents of asbestos exposure between 2010 and 2019.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  There have been no reports of asbestos exposure during this time.
  4. Details of any improvement or prohibition notice served or guidance issued by the HSE in relation to the management of asbestos in the House of Commons in the last 5 years.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  The Health and Safety Executive have not issued any improvement or prohibition notices, or guidance to the House of Commons in the last 5 years.
  5. The number of House of Commons employees (existing and retired), MPs (current or past) or their staff (existing and retired) that have pursued a claim for exposure to asbestos within the House of Commons.
    and
  6. The number of these claims that have been settled.
    and
  7. The amount of money that has been paid in settlement of these claims (with or without accepting responsibility).
    This information is not held by the House of Commons.  Our records show that at April 2003 there were no such outstanding claims and, since April 2003, no claims nor settlements have been made. We hold no information for the period before April 2003.
  8. The details of training offered to House of Commons employees or MPs and their staffers to recognise and/or inspect for asbestos presence.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  Training to Category A “Asbestos Awareness” as detailed within the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 certified by UKATA (United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association) has been delivered to staff whose role has been identified on the training matrix as requiring it.
  9. The number of times that you have dealt with a leaky roof or a broken window or a damaged wall panel, during the past 5 years. (i.e. where the fabric of the building has been disturbed).
    Information about maintenance repairs is held by the House of Commons.  There are tens of thousands of repairs undertaken by the maintenance team and other specialist contractors each year.  Some of these faults or problems, or the resulting work to fix them, might have affected the fabric of the building, but it is almost impossible to quantify this based on your current question.  However, the location of most asbestos in the Palace of Westminster is already known, and maintenance staff are advised if asbestos may be in the vicinity when they are allocated routine maintenance jobs.  In an emergency, staff are also trained to recognise the presence of asbestos and, on those occasions where asbestos is suspected to be found, they secure the area and contact the on-site asbestos specialist.
    If you require information about specific faults or incidents, please let us know and we will try to provide more information. 
  10. Details of when and why you have commissioned emergency asbestos air testing across the House of Commons in the past 5 years.
    This information is not held by the House of Commons, because no emergency asbestos air testing has been commissioned within the House of Commons within the last 5 years.