Asbestos management guidance for schools

Last Updated on 12th August 2020 by

Government issues new asbestos management guidance for schools

A recent study has revealed that 1,060 schools in England are not safely managing the risks of asbestos, carrying out any management of risks or are not fully compliant with current legislation.

As such, the Government have stepped in and have issued schools with new safety guidelines on the management of asbestos for them to implement and follow.

The EFA (Education Funding Agency) have issued 2 different guidance documents for 2017.

They are titled ‘Managing asbestos in your school’ and ‘Where asbestos may be located’.

These new documents are to replace the old ones issued by the DFE (Department of Education).

These new guidance documents are aimed at school leaders such as head teachers.

They are also for other teachers and school staff, duty-holders and governing bodies.

The guidelines apply to local authority schools, free schools and academies.

Each of the reports offers advice on how to identify asbestos, how to assess the risks and how to manage it in schools.

Also included in the reports are relevant legislations and links to key resources, which include the ‘HSE asbestos checklist’ and ‘HSE’s priority assessment algorithm’.

Government issues new asbestos guidance for schools - pupil writes with pencil

Case studies provided in asbestos management and guidance documents

In the ‘Managing Asbestos in your school’ guidance, a number of real case studies are included.

For example, there is one case where unsafe removal of asbestos insulation boards meant several people being exposed to asbestos.

The school was subsequently fined £60,000 and the court ordered them to pay additional costs of £13,000.

Guidance given to schools is broken down into a five step, day to day management of asbestos as follows:-

  1. You must have a management survey of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in your school which should be conducted by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and in accordance with HSE guidance.  This must be done for all buildings constructed before the year 2000.
  2. Assess the risks associated with ACMs in your school.  This must be done for each identified presence of asbestos and includes three parts:  material, priority and total assessments.
  3. Devise an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) to include details of arrangements to inform all staff about the location of ACMs and the schedule for monitoring the condition of ACMs.
  4. Make sure staff, visitors and contractors know the risks and precautions they need to take, including the risks of pinning children’s work to walls.
  5. Keep the management of asbestos in your school under review with updates of damage to asbestos and work undertaken to ACMs.

In the second report, ‘Where asbestos may be located’, the different types of building and maintenance work that may disturb ACMs are covered.

Examples are also given of activities that have previously disturbed asbestos in schools, such as teachers hanging decorations from ceiling grids when the ceiling void was contaminated with asbestos debris.

Images illustrating common locations of asbestos exposure are provided

A number of images are provided to illustrate the common locations of asbestos exposure – walls, ceilings, window and door surrounds, pipework insulation and sprayed coatings on structural columns.

The documentation warns, “If you do not follow the steps set out in this advice, you may put the future health of your staff and pupils at risk.”

“Duty-holders could also face prosecution by failing to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012“.

The new guidelines have come about after an EFA Asbestos Management in Schools Data Collection Report carried out a voluntary survey on 5,592 schools.

Of the schools surveyed, 19% have been identified as not being fully compliant or not to be safely managing asbestos risks.

Furthermore, a subset of 114 schools caused ‘significant cause for concern’ when it came to asbestos management, leading to DFE intervention.

In order to download a copy of the guideline reports, please follow this link:-  www.gov.uk/government/publications/asbestos-management-in-schools–2

Source of article:-  ROSPA OS&H Journal

Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos exposure in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/

Alternatively, for all your asbestos exposure training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for more information or to book a training course.

Latest News...
20th February 2024Asbestos, once hailed as a wonder material for its fire-resistant properties, has left a complex legacy across the globe, particularly within the construction industry. Its durability and insulating qualities made it a staple in buildings and homes, yet its hazardous impact on health is undeniable. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to serious diseases, including […] [...] Read more...
30th January 2024Asbestos, once widely used in the UK for its heat-resistant properties, now poses a significant health risk in older buildings. Identifying this material is crucial for ensuring safety, particularly in structures built before the late 20th century. For experts at Armco, specialists in asbestos surveys and removal, the ability to detect asbestos accurately is vital. […] [...] Read more...
26th October 2023Asbestos once hailed for its heat resistance and insulation properties, has been extensively used in a myriad array of industries including construction, automotive and shipbuilding. However, its use has been significantly curtailed due to the serious health risks it poses when its fibres become airborne. The objective of this blog is to shed light on […] [...] Read more...
23rd August 2023Asbestos, once celebrated for its fire-resistant properties and durability, has left an indelible mark on public health and safety due to its carcinogenic nature. While significant strides have been made in asbestos management and regulation, the journey toward effective asbestos handling is far from over. In this article, we explore the exciting innovations and advancements […] [...] Read more...
13th July 2023Last Updated on 26th July 2023 by max2021 If you are concerned there might be asbestos in your home or workplace, one option you have is to test the area and material you suspect contains ACMs – Asbestos Containing Materials. This is not a commonly held skill. So like many people, you may head to […] [...] Read more...
24th May 2023The dangers of using a Bee Blower that contains asbestos Beekeeping is a beloved hobby that has been practised for centuries. However, it can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. One of the lesser-known hazards of beekeeping is using bee blowers containing asbestos. If your supplier imported the equipment from China, it […] [...] Read more...

Published Apr 10, 2017

Get in touch