School holidays are the perfect time for asbestos surveys

Acorn_School_Site-26

When you think of the upcoming October half-term holiday, asbestos surveys and asbestos-related works might not be the first thing that spring to mind.

Fortunately, many schools and colleges wisely choose to use their breaks to get on top of their asbestos issues by organising asbestos surveys or carrying out works which – without the proper expertise – could run the risk of disturbing asbestos.

Our professional team of consultants will be hard at work throughout the holiday working with schools to make sure their children, staff and visitors are protected from the dangers of asbestos by assisting them with such projects and carrying out asbestos surveys.

Why should schools have asbestos surveys?

Asbestos was widely used in constructing schools in the past but poor structural maintenance and vandalism make schools more vulnerable than other buildings to the risk of release of asbestos fibres.

The truth is one of the biggest risks faced by schools and colleges built before 2000 is that asbestos lurking within their buildings may be disturbed either during maintenance or construction works. Outside of these works, schools also have the added risk that children may accidentally damage parts of their buildings which could also lead to asbestos being disturbed.

As a result, it is imperative that all schools can identify the types of asbestos on their properties and where they are located so they can manage them safely and by far the best way to do this is by having an asbestos survey.

To give you an idea of the scale of the asbestos problem in UK schools we have the world’s highest death rate for teachers from mesothelioma – a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. On average between 200 and 300 people also die each year from exposure to asbestos as school children. Tragically, children are particularly vulnerable to developing mesothelioma. A five-year-old who is exposed to asbestos is five times more likely to contract mesothelioma than someone who was exposed in their thirties.

What advice are schools given about asbestos?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers comprehensive guidance to schools about managing asbestos.

It makes it extremely clear that it is extremely important that any asbestos present in schools or colleges must be located and managed effectively.

Failure to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 is a criminal offence. The HSE will investigate incidents where dutyholders fail to manage the risks and take enforcement action where appropriate. If schools fail to manage their asbestos correctly they will put people’s lives in danger and could be prosecuted by the HSE.

The National Education Union (NEU) is also very vocal when it comes to what schools should do when it comes to asbestos.

The NEU believes that asbestos surveys should be carried out in all schools unless there is a good reason not to do so.

It says many education employers will previously have carried out some forms of survey, in particular the ‘condition surveys’ required under the asset management planning process but they  should not automatically assume that such surveys satisfy the requirements of the duty to manage asbestos.

The NEU and the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) both have concerns about the quality of many asbestos surveys and advise that surveys should be undertaken by competent personnel.

The NEU strongly recommends that schools should only use surveyors, like Acorn, which are accredited by the UK’s national accreditation body UKAS.

The union also says that copies of asbestos surveys should be readily accessible to staff so they can monitor the condition of their work areas and report any damage to any areas that contain asbestos. The NEU believes this information should be on permanent display in the staff room.

How can Acorn help schools?

As we mentioned earlier, we provide asbestos surveys including asbestos management surveys which is usually the survey you undertake as the first step towards safely managing asbestos in your building.

A management survey is not very intrusive and includes the sampling of suspected asbestos materials. It will generally include visual inspections of ceilings, walls, floors, accessible ducts, service risers and lofts. Our experienced and qualified asbestos surveyors will inspect all areas of your building to locate any surface-level asbestos-containing materials. It is best for schools to carry out asbestos surveys and asbestos-related works during their holidays because this is when there are far fewer people on site.

We’re looking forward to working with lots of schools and colleges over the October half-term holiday. If you would like your school or college to be one of them don’t hesitate – get in touch with us 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   

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.

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

Acorn School Site 26 e1634213147938

School holidays are the perfect time for asbestos surveys

When you think of the upcoming October half-term holiday, asbestos surveys and asbestos-related works might not be the first thing that spring to mind. Fortunately, many schools and colleges wisely choose to use their breaks to get on top of their asbestos issues by organising asbestos surveys or carrying out works which – without the … Read more

Acorn campaign targets asbestos in schools.

Asbestos in schools to be tackled by new Acorn campaign

This week we were proud to launch a hard-hitting campaign targeting the issue of asbestos in schools. If you read our blog last week you will know that more than 20 years after the UK banned the use of asbestos here, it’s estimated that a high percentage of our schools still contain the deadly substance. … Read more

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Did you know that the UK has a significant problem with asbestos in schools? More than two decades since the use of asbestos was banned in the UK, it’s estimated that eight out of 10 of our schools still contain the deadly substance. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used frequently by our construction industry, … Read more

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day c5810986 e1632385966395

Raising awareness about mesothelioma

This Sunday, Americans, their federal departments and agencies and their media are being called upon to observe the annual US National Mesothelioma Awareness Day with ceremonies and activities. Back in 2010, September 26 was earmarked by the US Congress as a special day to raise the American public’s awareness about mesothelioma and to encourage all … Read more

worker 6544391 1920 e1631783205514

UK house builder becomes first to divert asbestos away from landfill

We’ve heard some fantastic news about asbestos in the UK during the past few days. Leading developer Lovell has become the first UK house builder to actively tackle the challenge of asbestos waste. The firm is collaborating with Wolverhampton-based Thermal Recycling to safely package and convert asbestos waste into a safe and reusable cement substitute. … Read more

road sign 4244285 1920 e1631178843233

Asbestos causes a headache for constructor and neighbouring businesses

Asbestos hit the headlines once again this week when it brought a construction project grinding to a halt, closed off a town centre road and disrupted nearby businesses. The Stoke Sentinel has published an article sharing the frustrations of businesses in Piccadilly Arcade in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, who were unable to access their parking spaces or … Read more

surgery 3034071 1920 e1630572942721

Looking after asbestos will help us all breathe more easily

Many people have lives filled with work and family and 101 other activities that take up our days. So, today we’d like you to do something for us – just pause for a second and take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Did you manage to do it? The average person takes … Read more

Acorn Samples 6 e1629960810872

Concerns raised about asbestos on British beach

Most of us love a seaside holiday but sadly one of Britain’s beaches hit the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons. You may remember that back in May we ran a blog on ‘Are holidaymakers in danger of finding asbestos on beaches?’ which highlighted a number of British beaches where asbestos had been … Read more

Acorn Jan 2020 Low Res 49 e1629361953760

Acorn receives the backing of major organisations

At Acorn Analytical Services we are very proud of the wide range of asbestos management and training services that we provide. We are proud to say we’re a fully independent and impartial company and that clients can be confident that the results and recommendations they receive from us will always be in their best interests. … Read more

building plan 354233 1920 e1628755740921

Will planning reform put more people at risk from asbestos?

There have been lots of concerns raised in the national press recently about new planning reforms which mean a wider range of commercial properties can now be converted into flats. The reforms came into force at the beginning of this month in a bid to regenerate city centres which have struggled during the pandemic. However, … Read more