Asbestos Compliance in Schools

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Asbestos Compliance In Schools – HSE have released their latest findings

This latest asbestos project undertaken by the HSE was a programme aimed at assessing asbestos compliance in schools.  The assessment was questionnaire based and was specifically designed to collect information regarding compliance with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

The schools assessed were independent or fee-paying schools, and schools outside local authority control. The information collected will also be used to inform future interventions within the education sector.

The schools assessed were made up of the following:

Asbestos on schools

Type of SchoolNumber of Schools
Foundation1
Independent81
Academy56
Free School12
Voluntary Aided3
Total153

 

What was found? Here’s a summary of the Asbestos Compliance in Schools report –
  • 64% of schools had a full understanding of who the duty holder was, and a further 31% had a broad understanding;
  • 85% of schools had completed a management survey, with the most common method of doing so being a combination of sampling and presumption that materials contain asbestos (46% of the schools inspected);
  • The proportion of schools checking surveyor competency was lower than in the 2010/11 sample, and variation was evident across regions/nations;
  • The surveys completed were comprehensive in 67% of the schools visited, a lower figure than that found in 2010/11;
  • 77% of schools reported having an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP), with around half of these being comprehensive, an improvement on 2010/11 figures;
  • A majority of schools with an AMP had a system to identify risks relating to the condition of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and a majority also had a system to identify risks related to the location of the ACMs. In both cases, just over half of schools recorded all the details required;
  • Wales had the highest proportion of schools with a comprehensive AMP, and Scotland the lowest;
  • 54% of schools had a comprehensive system in place to provide information to those who might disturb ACMs; this was a slight increase on the 2010/11 figure;
  • In those schools where in-house operatives undertake building and maintenance work there had been an improvement since 2010/11, with 63% now having training in place, but there were regional/national variations;
  • Of the 153 schools visited, 44 were given written advice following the visit and enforcement action was taken against 20 of the 44 in the form of an Improvement Notice;
  • 39% of schools in England were aware of the DfE guidance.

Asbestos in schools and colleges

 


Although this is a very small proportion of the schools present within this county, this report again highlights the fact that asbestos compliance in schools is still very much a current issue.

The report highlights the lack of knowledge with regards to having a fully comprehensive asbestos management plan. The increase in the amount of asbestos management surveys being undertaken without asbestos management plans being in place, suggests schools are still believing just having a survey equates to being compliant. This is not the case. More shockingly only 67% of schools had a survey that identified the location of all asbestos containing materials. These facts could be linked to the fall in checking asbestos surveyor competency.

It was positive to see an overall increase  in asbestos training for in-house operatives who undertake building and maintenance work.

If you’re responsible for asbestos management in your school , we’d love to help you. As such we can provide you with a free asbestos compliance audit which is fully in line with the HSEs latest audit report. To book your appointment contact us today!

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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