Is your school using the summer holidays to get to grips with asbestos?

Acorn_School_Site-6 (Medium)

When you think of where asbestos might be lurking in the UK you might picture prefab houses or garages or possibly post-wartime office blocks and factories.

The last place any of us would ever want to picture asbestos are the places where we send millions of our children every day – our schools. Is your school using the summer holidays to get to grips with asbestos?

The terrifying truth is more than 75% of our schools contain asbestos – all of that asbestos is old and much of it is deteriorating.

Why should your school get to grips with asbestos?

Between 1945 and 1975 alone – when the use of asbestos was at its height – more than 14,000 schools were built and many of these contain asbestos insulating board products.

As a result, between 2009 and 2019 more than 200 UK teachers died from the effects of being exposed to asbestos and it is estimated that for every teacher fatality, nine ex-pupils can also expect to fall victim to the deadly substance.

The reason for this is that children are particularly vulnerable to developing the cancer mesothelioma – which is caused by asbestos in 90% of cases.

A five-year-old who is exposed to asbestos is reported to be five times more likely to contract mesothelioma than an adult in their 30s. It is estimated that between 200 and 300 people die in the UK every year as a result of being exposed to asbestos as school children.

Teachers’ unions have labelled the situation scandalous and have argued that such figures prove the Government’s policy of leaving asbestos in situ has failed.

So, why does the legacy of asbestos continue to haunt our school buildings?

Well, the current guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that as long as asbestos is in good condition and is not likely to be disturbed it is better to manage it for the remaining life of the school rather than to remove it. Consequently, most of the asbestos remains in our schools and will have to be managed for a long time into the future.

get to grips with asbestos

How should your school get to grips with asbestos?

The key thing here is management. Some schools have effective systems of asbestos management in place but many do not. Many may have some form of an asbestos register, however many are not kept up to date and accurate.

This needs to be done because asbestos was widely used in schools so you are likely to find it throughout a school’s estate.

It is most commonly found in asbestos spray coatings which were applied on concrete walls, ceiling and steelwork for fire protection or acoustic insulation. In asbestos insulation lagging particularly around pipework, boilers and ducts. Also in asbestos insulating boards heavily used for ceiling tiles, walls, boxing and fire breaks. You will also find it in asbestos cement products such as wall and ceiling panels, corrugated roof panels, tiles, gutters, pipes and decorate plaster-type finishes.

The presence of asbestos in schools is such an important topic that earlier this year it formed a major feature in the Education Executive – or EdExec – publication which is targeted at key decision makers in the UK’s schools and academies.

The feature highlighted the dangers of asbestos and urged schools to make sure they were up to date with the latest guidance.

At Acorn Analytical Services we realise how daunting it can be for schools to get to grips with dealing with the asbestos on their premises even with the Department for Education’s guidance for schools on where asbestos may be located.

This is why we have put together an easy to download checklist to help you check if your school is compliant with asbestos law.

To make things even easier we also offer a complimentary asbestos audit for schools which is undertaken by one of our qualified asbestos consultants.

With the summer holidays fast approaching now is one of the best times to get to grips with asbestos issues in educational establishments.

On the whole, asbestos management surveys tend to be only minorly intrusive but if any further work is required it is far better for this to be scheduled during the holidays when hundreds of staff and students aren’t on the premises.

So, if you want further information about how we can help your school click here today.

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air 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 spend 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.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure risk leads to jail sentences

Have you ever wondered what the consequences could be if a company fails to protect workers from asbestos exposure? At Acorn, we work hard to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos which remains the world’s biggest workplace killer. When asbestos is disturbed it releases tiny fibres into the air which can cause a … Read more

MPs want asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years.

MPs fight for asbestos to be removed from public buildings

Last week, MPs called for all asbestos to be removed from public and commercial buildings within the next 40 years. The Government’s Work and Pensions Select Committee wants the asbestos to be removed because the substance remains the biggest workplace killer in the UK with around 5,000 deaths linked to it every year. Even though … Read more

During Global Asbestos Awareness Week charities and organisations around the world will be working hard to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer.

Hitting back at hidden killer during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2022

Today marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. Between now and April 7, charities and organisations around the world will be working hard during Global Asbestos Awareness Week to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos which remains the globe’s biggest workplace killer. In the UK, the use of asbestos was banned more than … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services is proud to be helping women to #BreakTheBias.

#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022

Today, Acorn is incredibly proud to be supporting International Women’s Day. The United Nations began marking the global event back in 1977 and the day is now recognised as the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. This year means a lot to our diverse team at Acorn because the theme for 2022 is … Read more

International Women's Day Emma

International Women’s Day 2022

To mark International Women’s Day, we wanted to introduce you to a couple of Acorn Analytical Service’s fantastic female employees. The asbestos industry – like the construction industry in general – is a male dominated sector but at Acorn we are fortunate to work with several brilliant female employees, including asbestos analysts, asbestos surveyors and … Read more

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home?

Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment

Do you ever stop to think about whether you could be exposed to asbestos in your home? During the 20th century asbestos was used heavily by the UK’s construction industry and even though its use has been banned for more than two decades its legacy lives on in our homes, garages, workplaces and public buildings. … Read more

Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease

Rare Disease Day 2022

Did you know that Rare Disease Day is taking place on Monday? Rare Disease Day is held every year on February 28 to raise awareness and generate change for the 300 million people worldwide living with a rare disease and for their families and carers. More than 600 events will be taking place across the … Read more

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the HSE's approach to asbestos management

Asbestos management inquiry held by Government

Over the past few months, the Government’s Work and Pensions Committee has been carrying out an inquiry into the approach of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to asbestos management in buildings. There are six million tonnes of asbestos in the UK, most of which can be found in more than 1.5 million buildings across … Read more

Plans to develop a derelict site - that was once home to the world’s largest asbestos firm - are expected to be lodged before the end of 2024.

Site of world’s largest asbestos firm to be redeveloped

In the past few weeks, it has emerged that plans to develop a derelict site – that was once home to the world’s largest asbestos firm – are expected to be lodged before the end of 2024. Specialist remediation company ESG Trading Limited, has bought 45-hectares of derelict land which once belonged to the former … Read more

Changes have come into force which will have an impact on the length of time it takes to successfully complete the Asbestos Removal Work 4 Stage Clearance process.

Changes to Asbestos Removal Work

This week changes have come into force which will have an impact on the length of time it takes to successfully complete the Asbestos Removal Work 4 Stage Clearance process. Asbestos 4 Stage Clearances independently verify that a client’s asbestos removal works have been completed correctly. During the clearance process, asbestos analysts are required to … Read more