Taking action against asbestos – a hidden danger in our schools

Time to tackle asbestos in our schools

AS children headed back into the classroom this week asbestos continues to be a problem in schools right across for the UK.

Unbelievably, more than 80% of schools still contain the material, potentially putting children and teachers at risk of serious health problems in the years to come.

As one of the country’s leading asbestos management consultancies, this is a cause which is really close to our hearts.

In  2021, Acorn Analytical Services launched a campaign on World Teacher’s Day in October to help raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos in schools and ensure it is effectively managed or removed safely.

As part of the hard-hitting campaign, Acorn offered free audits to all schools in Birmingham and raised the issue with local MPs to ensure it was raised in Parliament.

Our work on this important issue continues to this day. We are committed to educating as many people as possible about the dangers of asbestos through training, raising awareness through articles like this one and a range of books, guides and podcasts.

What’s happening to protect our schools?

Thankfully, it does appear that this important message is getting through.

We were delighted to learn this week that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be conducting an inspection of primary and secondary schools from September onwards to assess each school’s individual risk, something we believe is a really important step forward.

As school buildings age, the risk of the asbestos contained within them being damaged becomes even greater, so action is needed now to ensure children and teachers are protected.

What makes it so dangerous?

Asbestos was used extensively as a cheap building material in the 1950s and 1960s when many schools were built.

Its insulating and fire-retardant properties made it an ideal choice before the health risks were widely known.

Since 1999, the use of asbestos has been banned but it still lies dormant in many buildings and private homes. Left alone, it does not pose a threat, but it is does need to be properly managed.

If it is damaged, fibres could be released into the air increasing the risk of people breathing them in. That could lead to people developing mesothelioma in later life, a cancer which largely affects the lungs or the stomach and kills around 2,500 people every year in the UK.

What can I do to stay safe?

The only way to protect yourself from the hidden dangers is to carry out a full asbestos survey on your home or premises to identify if it is present.

If it is, you can make sure the asbestos in your premises is safely managed or removed as part of planned maintenance.

Acorn Analytical Services can help you with all your asbestos management needs. We carry out surveys, provide guidance on its management and and arrange for it to be removed.

It’s really important not to the dangers. Making sure you comply with the latest rules and regulations is of the utmost importance and, as one of the leading independent consultancies in the UK, we are always here to help you.

If you are a headteacher, and would like our support, or more information about how to manage the presence of asbestos within your school please get in touch with us today. We would be only too pleased to help.

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with compliance using  surveysair testing, and asbestos removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying-sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spent purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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