A WORKER has died while removing asbestos from Cwmcarn High School, police have confirmed.

James Paul, 26, of Abertillery, died on Friday while working at the site, which was closed to staff and pupils last October over fears of airborne asbestos fibers.

Gwent Police were called to the school at Chapel Farm around 3.15pm and an investigation has been launched with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.

Gwent Coroner has been informed and a post mortem examination is expected to take place today.

A HSE spokesman said the death was reported on Friday and an inspector has since visited the site.

Specialist asbestos removal firm, Caswell Group, started work to remove asbestos debris from the voids and sealing asbestos panels that are safe to be left in-situ earlier this month.

It is unclear whether Mr Paul was employed directly by the company or if he was a sub contractor.

In a joint statement, Caerphilly County Borough Council and Cwmcarn High School said: "This is a tragic incident and our thoughts and sympathy are with the family at this difficult time.

"We are awaiting an update from the Coroner's Office about the cause of death, therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

Caswell Group could not be contacted before the Argus went to press.

The council agreed to provide £1 million for the work after several months of talks with the school and governors.

Parents and pupils, who have been taught at Coleg Gwent’s former Ebbw Vale campus since October, held protests and ran a petition urging the authority and the Welsh Government to secure the school’s future.

After work is complete the site will be deep cleaned and thorough air quality tests will be undertaken to ensure the buildings are safe for pupils to return for the new school year on September 4.