The University Services Department (FB) has been preparing for the asbestos clean-up operation at the Physics and Chemistry building Nijenborgh 4, at the request of the Board of the University of Groningen. The aim of the operation was to remove or isolate asbestos in such a manner that safe working conditions would be guaranteed throughout the building, without having to vacate the entire building and disrupt normal operating procedures to any great extent. This ‘limited’ clean-up operation was due to start shortly. It must be pointed out that all direct sources of risk have already been removed or isolated. Air has been sampled regularly, and the samples indicate that the working conditions are safe.
However, last week it became apparent that the planned method of dealing with the asbestos would lead to exorbitant costs, while only removing a portion of the asbestos. If the building were to be remodelled, renovated or – ultimately – demolished in the future, money would again have to be spent on removing the remaining asbestos. As the University must finance these costs from its own funds, the Board of the University decided on 14 June, after consultation with the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Health and Safety Inspectorate, that the planned approach would be abandoned. An integral modernization plan for Nijenborgh 4 is now being developed more quickly, where the entire building will be stripped and renovated and all asbestos will be removed. The renovation plan will be ready this autumn. The Board of the University will consult with the Faculty Board on the best way to involve the Faculty in the plans being developed.
In the meantime, asbestos management measures will be taken to further ensure a safe working environment. These will include:
As the safety of the occupants and visitors of Nijenborgh 4 is the top priority, normal operating procedures will certainly be affected. Repairs and renovation work may be only carried out via the Faculty’s Facility Services department and the University Services Department, as they will have to be conducted in accordance with the asbestos management plan.
- If you are a staff member or student and have any questions regarding the health risks, please contact the University of Groningen Health, Safety and Environment Service on 050 - 363 5534, or AMD.medisch rug.nl .
- Questions about operating procedures can be addressed to J. Poutsma, Treasurer of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences: tel. 050 - 363 4615.
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