Starting October 2023, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will commence a series of inspections in primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland, and Wales. The focus? To evaluate how schools are managing the risks associated with asbestos within their premises and ensuring compliance with the ‘duty to manage’ (DTM) requirements as stipulated in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR).
The Role of Schools in Asbestos Management
Under CAR, schools, as work premises maintainers, bear the responsibility for managing asbestos risks. In most cases, this responsibility lies with the employer. With the forthcoming inspections, it’s vital that schools understand and fulfil their obligations to safeguard their students, staff, and visitors.
The Inspection Process: What to Expect
HSE inspectors will spearhead these visits, contacting schools beforehand to schedule convenient inspection times. They will need to converse with someone knowledgeable about the school’s asbestos management and might request to review documentation like the asbestos register and management plan. For a detailed understanding of what to expect during these inspections, schools are advised to refer to HSE’s guidance.
Preparing for the Inspections: Key Steps for Schools
To gear up for these inspections, schools should:
- Identify Asbestos Presence: Determine if there are asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) on the premises, their quantity, location, and condition.
- Presumption Principle: Assume materials contain asbestos unless proven otherwise.
- Record-keeping: Maintain updated records of the location and condition of ACMs or presumed ACMs.
- Risk Assessment: Evaluate the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.
- Asbestos Management Plan (AMP): Develop a detailed AMP to manage these risks effectively.
- Plan Implementation: Actively implement and periodically review the AMP.
- Information Sharing: Provide information about the location and condition of ACMs to those liable to work on or disturb them.
How Crucial Environmental Can Assist Schools
At Crucial Environmental, we specialise in providing comprehensive asbestos management services tailored to the unique needs of educational institutions. Our services include:
- Asbestos Surveys: Conducting thorough surveys to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in school buildings.
- Asbestos Management Plans: Developing and updating asbestos management plans (AMP) that comply with current regulations and guidelines.
- Risk Assessment: Providing expert risk assessment services for potential asbestos exposure.
- Record Maintenance: Assisting in the maintenance of detailed and up-to-date records of ACMs.
- Asbestos Removal: We are fully licensed to carry out removals of asbestos-containing materials, working to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
- Staff Training: Offering training programs to school staff, enhancing their understanding and capability to manage asbestos-related issues.
- Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring schools meet all regulatory requirements for asbestos management, including preparation for HSE inspections.
- Consultation and Support: Offering expert advice and support on all aspects of asbestos management in schools.Learning from Past Inspections and Updated Resources
Schools can benefit from understanding the outcomes of the 2022/23 inspection campaign on asbestos management in schools. Aligning with the identified areas of improvement can enhance their management strategies. Additionally, HSE’s updated “Asbestos management – checklist for schools” serves as a valuable resource, summarising key measures for effective asbestos risk management.