Did you know that more than 75% of UK state schools have asbestos in them, according to a recent study? This is a worrying statistic as any damaged or ill-maintained asbestos within schools puts both pupils and teachers at risk of asbestos exposure, in addition to any visitors. 

As many pupils and teachers begin to wind down for the summer holidays, now is a great time to organise your school’s asbestos management tasks. During term times, we understand that it is extremely difficult to undertake any asbestos management tasks of the building, especially if it is a busier school or university. However, with the summer holidays fast approaching, a quieter school means our asbestos experts have access to all areas.

The risk of asbestos in schools

The dangers of asbestos exposure are well known. Exposure to asbestos (especially over a long time period) can be catastrophic to a person’s health, causing many respiratory health conditions. The risks to health are serious when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed and can pose a significant danger when found within a school setting or other educational facility where children and young adults often visit. 

The schools here in the UK are often set in beautiful historic buildings. However, although this brings a rich history to the school, any buildings constructed before 2000 are likely to contain asbestos in some form. Asbestos-containing materials were incredibly popular during this time period as asbestos was known for its heat-resistant and insulating properties. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos materials in schools are most commonly found within: 

  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Insulation on pipes and boilers
  • Sprayed asbestos used for fire protection
  • Textured coatings
  • Cement roofing

If your school was built before the ban on asbestos in 2000, is your asbestos well managed?

Managing asbestos in schools

The risk from asbestos comes when damage is done to the ACM. This can include any maintenance or refurbishment works, or even from teachers pinning decorations and displays into certain asbestos-containing items. If your asbestos items are not damaged and are well-maintained and monitored, it is unlikely to pose issues to the health of staff and pupils. 

It is the responsibility of the duty holder to monitor and manage any ACMs within the school. According to Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, this responsibility falls on the person who is the Dutyholder. For most this is the employer. In most cases for state schools, this is your local authority. 

The Health and Safety Executive states that it “expects schools to manage the risks from asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) on an on-going basis.” This includes asbestos surveys. 

Asbestos surveys for schools

Managing asbestos within a school is an important role and therefore the contractors you enlist should be ready to undertake this role safely and competently. 

With years of experience in assessing and surveying a wide range of asbestos-containing materials, we offer both asbestos management surveys, reinspections and refurbishment and demolition surveys, depending on which best suits your situation. To find out more about our services and to get your free, competitive quote, get in touch with our team below