Securing of the RBINS building related to the asbestos risk

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KBIN - IRSNB - RBINS
23/03/2022
Securing of the RBINS building related to the asbestos risk
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Communication

Asbestos fibers have been detected in the institute part of the RBINS buildings and several measures have been put into place. We would like to reassure you: our visitors are not at all concerned.

This problem is related to a ventilation system independent from the public spaces of the Museum. It concerns the office areas, laboratories and collections of our institute. The exhibition rooms and activity centers (holiday workshops, animations, the auditorium, knowledge center, Dino Café, or pick-nick area) are not concerned in any way.

Moreover, since 2004 all our exhibition rooms have been renovated in compliance with current legislation and no material that could contain asbestos has been used. We therefore welcome you in all safety, whether you are individual visitor, a school group or a participant in a private event in our rooms.

However, to be fully transparent towards everyone, we hereby present you briefly the situation and the list of questions that might arise. If you don’t find the answer to your question, you can send an email to prevention@naturalsciences.be. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

The facts

Following large construction works on the 10th and 12th floor of the Institute, asbestos fibers have been detected in the ventilation ducts of that area. The RBINS has proceeded to shut down the ventilation ducts of the offices, first temporarily, then permanently. Complementary analysis have allowed us to determine the scope of the concerned areas and show that the public areas are not concerned.

What are the risks for our collaborators?

De Meuter, a company specialized in demolition works and asbestos removal advises not to touch the ventilation at this stage and primarily promotes regular air sampling. The analysis lead by the RBINS prevention advisor confirms there is no high risk. Moreover, this only concerns a limited number of our collaborators. A internal unit has been set up to inform and accompany collaborators.

Measures taken

In order not to take any risks, 

  • The RBINS and the Federal Buildings Management are currently closing up all concerned air vents and have set up regular monitoring of the air in the rooms. 
  • The impacted collaborators can continue to work from home until the end of the works and special equipment are available to those who need to access the areas that are being worked on.

Your concern regarding this situation is entirely understandable. We would like to reassure you once more. This is why you can find answers to the main questions you may have in this FAQ. This list will be regularly updated.

  

FAQ
 

INDIVIDUAL VISITORS / FAMILLES

Are the exhibition rooms impacted?
 

No. the public areas of the Museum – exhibition rooms and activity spaces (workshops, animations, the auditorium, knowledge center, Dino Café, pick-nick area) are not at all concerned by the asbestos risk. This problem is limited to the part of the Institute that exclusively harbors offices, laboratories and collections.
 

Since 2004, all of our exhibition rooms have been renovated in compliance with legislation and no material that may contain asbestos has been used. Therefore, we welcome our public in all safety, whether it be individual visitors, schools, or private events in our rooms.
 

I regularly come to the Museum. What risk do I face?

None. The public areas of the Museum have never been concerned by this problem. Analysis of air samples taken in the public areas have shown there is no presence of asbestos in the Museum.

I did research in the knowledge center. What risk do I face?

None (see answer above)

My children have participated in holiday workshops and/or activities and animations with their school. Do they face a risk?

No (see answer above)

I visited the Museum before the renovation works. What risk do I face?

None. The public areas of the Museum have never been concerned. The ventilation system where asbestos fibers have been detected were solely in the areas of the Institute (RBINS), harboring offices, laboratories, and collections.

SCHOOL GROUPS

Are the spaces where the school animations take place concerned?
 

No, the rooms for ateliers, animations and workshops are located in areas that are not impacted.

What is the impact on school groups that came or still come to the Museum?


None. The groups that came or still come to the Museum stay in the areas that aren’t impacted. Therefore, we continue to welcome them in all safety.

WORKS

What are the risks for visitors who come to the Museum during the renovation works?

The areas being worked on are not accessible to the public and the works will be conducted by experts in asbestos removal. Therefore, there is no risk at all for visitors or personnel.

Will the Museum have to close?

The Museum is not impacted by the works and will not close.

(FORMER) PERSONNEL OF THE RBINS

Which specific measures are taken for current personnel?
 

The health and safety of our personnel is the priority of the Institute. Working from home is maintained for all who can. Alternative office spaces are made available. Protective equipment (FFP3 masks, asbestos protection kits) is distributed to personnel who imperatively needs to access a concerned area.

I used to work for the RBINS? Who should I contact for more information?

We invite anyone who has worked for the RBINS and who wishes to get in contact with the Institute about this issue to send an email prevention@naturalsciences.be. The RBINS will follow up.  

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