Christmas decorations: safety advice

28 November 2017

With the approach of the festive season, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) has issued a reminder about putting up Christmas decorations safely in schools.

The JUAC unions, including ASCL, are asking staff to ensure that Christmas decorations, children’s artwork and other materials are safely attached to ceilings and walls and are not attached to surfaces containing asbestos using pins or staples.

The DfE advises that ‘Putting drawing pins into walls as part of displays can release asbestos fibres. This activity should not be taking place in schools where asbestos is known to be present.’

JUAC advice to school staff is:

  • If you do not know already whether your school contains asbestos, ask your headteacher if it does and if so, where it is located.

  • If there is asbestos in the walls or ceilings of classrooms, corridors, halls or anywhere else accessible to pupils and staff, do not pierce the area with any pins or staples. Find other ways to display decorations or artwork. If you cannot find out, you must assume that asbestos is present until you receive confirmation that it is not.

  • Check that this message is reflected in your school’s asbestos management plan and ask for staff to be given termly reminders about it.

For more information, see online.