A vast number of schools which were constructed post World War II contain high levels of asbestos which were extensively used for fireproofing and insulation. In fact, of the 14,000 schools which were reconstructed between 1945-1965, 75% of them contain asbestos.
If asbestos is disturbed, it can cause fatal lung cancer, Mesothelioma.
Each year, the number of Mesothelioma deaths across teaching professions is increasing, and the Department for Education recognises that pupils are at greatest risk.
Provided asbestos remains undisturbed, it remains a safe material, However, given the typical daily activities within a school or college, even slamming a door, banging drawing pins into walls could cause asbestos fibres to be released.
A survey recently carried out by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) revealed how half of the respondents did not know whether their school contained asbestos, and of the half who were aware of the presence, did not know the location of the asbestos, meaning they had no way to avoid disturbing it.
Survey respondents reported incidents such as children punching holes in walls, for example, or picking at plaster covering areas where asbestos was located.
All schools are covered by the duty to manage asbestos
By law, all schools are covered by the duty to manage asbestos, including maintained schools, academies, free schools and independent or private schools. The responsibility for ensuring that asbestos is both identified and managed lies with the local authority in schools where it is the employer and with the governing body, trustees or proprietors in academies, free schools and independent schools.
HSE expects schools and colleges across Merseyside to manage the risks from asbestos-containing materials on an on-going basis.
One particular challenge for schools regarding the effective management of the asbestos risk is due to the location of asbestos-containing material (“ACM”)not being known or clearly marked, which was highlighted in NUT’s recent survey.
HSE’s asbestos management checklist
Here is an asbestos management checklist for schools prepared by HSE. http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/asbestos-checklist.pdf
Certainly, if your establishment is considering any refurbishments to be carried out, then an initial asbestos survey is a prerequisite before any work can be carried out.
Newnham College, in Cambridge, was fined for exposing employees and subcontractors to asbestos during renovation work in 2018.
After the refurbishment work was completed at a flat owned by the college, asbestos insulation debris was found in the floor voids. There had been no asbestos refurbishment survey carried out prior to work commencing. The loose asbestos debris-covered one employee’s clothing which was then spread outside the flat. No asbestos awareness training had been provided to the employees.
The college pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.
Asbestos Management is a key concern across Universities, colleges and schools in Merseyside. When it comes to the specific challenges with each building, having specialist building knowledge, combined with professional experience of working with the education sector, should be imperative.
Fibre Safe’s experience of working within schools and colleges across Wirral and Liverpool, Cheshire, North West and North Wales and means that we are able to work discreetly with each client, ensuring that our work is carried out safely, around normal working hours in order to cause the least level of disruption, and without causing undue attention.
We provide Asbestos Training Awareness courses for education establishments across Merseyside. Our course includes all aspects of ‘asbestos awareness’ in your places of work. It is an essential course which has become a legal requirement, ensuring all employers protect their staff from the threat of asbestos.
We have over 16 years of asbestos management experience and undertake asbestos surveys and removal in Liverpool, Manchester, Wirral, Cheshire and Merseyside in schools, universities, academies, higher and further education.
Fibre Safe would like to request all duty holders to have a free assessment of your existing asbestos survey data, your asbestos management plan and asbestos policy.
Our Qualifications and Accreditations include:
- BOHS P402 Asbestos Surveying and Sampling
- BOHS P405 Management of Asbestos in Buildings
- BOHS P406 Supervision and Management of Safe Removal of Asbestos
- ARCA (Asbestos Removal Contractors Association)
- ARCA – Asbestos Licensed Removal Operative
- ARCA – Asbestos Licensed Operative Supervisor
- ARCA – Asbestos Licensed Contract Manager
- UKATA (UK Asbestos Training Association)
- UKATA – Asbestos Tutor
- CIRIA – Construction Industry Research and Information Association
- CIRIA – Asbestos in Soil
For prompt, professional service, please call our Liverpool office today on 0151 515 2342 or send your enquiry by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.