August 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Staff are concerned that material resembling asbestos has been discovered in the corner of the Norwich panel in Colchester signal box following building work.
The material apparently runs the full length of the building. Staff are concerned that this poses the health risk of asbestosis in later life. Although tests have not yet come back identifying the material as asbestos, staff feel the material should be sealed with plastic sheeting to prevent it becoming airborne in case it is found to be asbestos at a later stage.
"Staff are concerned that this poses the risk of asbestosis in later life."
Staff are expected to work in the panel for up to eight hours in a shift. The office also has air conditioning which could be moving the dust particles around the entire building.
Could Network Rail ensure that the material is sealed until it is determined whether it asbestos or not?
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
During the work at Colchester panel signal box, material was discovered that was suspected of being asbestos. Standard industry procedure was followed - samples were sent for testing, meanwhile protective sheeting was erected to seal off the material from working areas pending return of the test results. The tests demonstrated that the material was indeed asbestos; accordingly the material was removed within two weeks of the initial discovery.
The material at Colchester was asbestos, and the process followed for protecting and removing it was a standard industry procedure.