Asbestos board ceiling in classrooms
Used extensively in schools throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s and into the 1980s asbestos is a carcinogen still present in schools throughout Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. Asbestos can be found in the fabric of a school building; above ceilings, below floors and often in plain sight in classrooms. Asbestos would have been used in materials from asbestos pads for carrying out experiments in the science lab to asbestos cement prefab buildings, Marley tiles to the floor, asbestos insulation board ceiling tiles in classrooms and lagging of pipework in the plant room.
We have been called out to survey asbestos in schools in Redhill and Reigate, secondary schools in Surbiton and colleges in Richmond and London and have managed large removal projects to remove asbestos board, pipe lagging and asbestos cement from schools from Farnham and Wallington to Sutton and Guildford.
In our experience, the schools we work with are responsible and diligent in dealing with asbestos. They are fully engaged in the need to protect both pupils and teachers. We work with schools to identify the essential remedial actions that need to be taken to ensure the school can functions safely. School are working with a limited budget so those asbestos materials that represent the biggest threat such as pipe lagging, asbestos insulation board, damaged asbestos materials and those asbestos containing materials vulnerable to damage within the school are prioritised. The lower risk materials that do not represent a threat to pupils or teachers are often left in situ. It is essential that these materials are then managed so the future risk of damage and deterioration is minimised.
What actions should schools take if asbestos is present in schools?
Schools have a responsibility to identify where asbestos is present, ensure all parties are aware of its location and that it is safe. The locations of all asbestos containing materials should be held within the asbestos register. The Asbestos Register will also detail what action is required, when it should be carried out and who is responsible.
Managing Asbestos in Schools
Who is legally responsible?
The Duty holder is responsible for the management of asbestos in the school. This will be the person responsible for the repair and maintenance of the school. The school is required to carry out an Asbestos Management Survey to identify the location of asbestos containing materials to all areas of the school. The survey will identify what asbestos containing materials are present, the likelihood of disturbance and what action is required to manage the asbestos.
The Duty holder will then need to have a plan as to what remedial actions are to be taken by whom and when. This should be summarised within an Asbestos Register, the register will then be updated with any changes if materials are damaged asbestos encapsulated or removed. Crucially the information about where the asbestos in the school is located should be made available to all parties from the maintenance team, teachers, pupils and outside electricians, plumbers, trades people or any third parties visiting the school.
Asbestos Removal should be carried out by a trained asbestos specialist
Those carrying out works around asbestos should be trained. If in doubt, then it is imperative to speak with an asbestos expert rather than take chances with your own safety or others who may be affected by your actions. Asbestos Awareness training will not suffice in most cases. Where there is risk of asbestos disturbance or removal of asbestos is required then this should be carried out by fully trained asbestos operatives and for higher risk materials should be carried out be a Licensed Asbestos Contractor.
Call us on 020 8288 4460 or email us email@example.com to discuss your Asbestos Management Survey, to put an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan in place to keep pupils, teachers and external contractors safe.