Asbestos Management for Schools
School asbestos management is at the heart of a major national debate
Asbestos in schools – Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s. It was used for a variety of purposes, typically fireproofing and insulation. Any building built before 2000 can contain asbestos. In particular, System buildings (often referred to as CLASP, SCOLA, SEAC, MACE, ONWARD) constructed during the period 1945 -1980 were widely used for the construction of school premises. These buildings can have structural columns fire proofed with asbestos containing materials (ACMs).
If ACMs are disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and become respirable. The activities most likely to lead to the disturbance of ACMs in schools are building and maintenance work. However, ACMs can also be disturbed through vandalism, accidental damage and boisterous behaviour.
Over the last few years there has been a lot of work by stakeholders across the school sector to raise awareness of the duty to manage asbestos. It is really encouraging to see that awareness of the requirements has increased since the HSE inspection initiative.
Schools should not be under any illusion – managing asbestos requires ongoing attention. There is now access to a wealth of guidance setting out clear and straightforward steps to achieve and maintain compliance.
“Where duty holders fall below acceptable standards, HSE has taken, and will continue to take, enforcement action”
All schools must ensure they have up to date records of asbestos containing materials in their school – this is to make sure that the school knows the location of any asbestos containing materials that could be damaged or disturbed by normal activities, by foreseeable maintenance, or when installing new equipment.
Download HSE’s Asbestos Management – Checklist for Schools
Good school asbestos management is essential. Training is essential for maintenance staff whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos and every school needs a robust system to alert anyone who may disturb asbestos at the school. The key group of personnel at risk from asbestos is tradespeople – particularly those undertaking maintenance activities. It is vital that schools ensure that anyone who may disturb asbestos is made aware of its location and condition.
Asbestos which is in good condition and remains undamaged and undisturbed does not pose any significant risk to health if it is managed in compliance with the legal requirements and according to HSE’s published guidance.
Amiante STR use a mixture of methods so that the session is practical, informative and interactive.
The “duty to manage” (Regulation 4-Control of Asbestos Regulations) is an ongoing duty—it does not stop once surveys and management plans have been formulated—dependent upon materials discovered and their condition, regular inspections need to be carried out and recorded in the management log.
From both a legal perspective and for peace-of-mind, talk to one of our school asbestos management specialists today. We can advise you on what needs doing to comply and the steps to take and if required, book an asbestos survey.
Click here for a useful HSE reference guide for asbestos surveys.