From September 2022, the Health & Safety Executive will be carrying out a programme of inspections of primary and secondary schools across the UK, which includes Liverpool and wider Merseyside. The HSE inspectors will be primarily reviewing and assessing how schools are managing the risks that asbestos poses under Regulation 4 ‘The Duty to Manage as per the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012’.
Duty of Care
Schools have a duty of care to the students and staff that work and learn within the building, and in relation to commencing asbestos risk assessments, schools have a responsibility to:
- Take reasonable steps to identify asbestos within their premises, the amount present and its condition
- Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is evidence that they do not
- Complete a written record of the location of the asbestos or presumed asbestos
- Carry out a risk assessment
- Prepare a plan setting out how any risk will be managed
- Implement the plan
- Pass on information about asbestos-containing materials to those who need it
- Monitor and review all the above arrangements periodically
All of these requirements will almost certainly involve carrying out an asbestos audit, something which Fibre Safe can assist with. One of the most important things to understand in relation to these assessments is that non-compliance with Regulation 4 is a criminal offence, which carries a fine with an unlimited amount and/or imprisonment for up to two years.
Risk to the health of children, teachers, and staff is a critical concern with asbestos in schools. But as a Wolverhampton school recently experienced, the presence of asbestos led to its closure, impacting lessons. They also lost all of their equipment which had been contaminated, including a piano, stage lights, sound system, PE equipment, CD player, outdoor boombox, display boards, projector, curtains and books. https://www.expressandstar.com/news/education/2022/09/14/wolverhampton-school-reopens-after-asbestos-discovery-but-loses-entire-contents-of-hall/
Is asbestos still common in schools?
There is a common misconception that asbestos is a historical danger that is seldom found in our buildings, schools and homes in modern times. This misconception is incredibly dangerous, as the opposite is true, and asbestos is present much more than one would think. Asbestos can be found in over 4,000 building products which you can find in everyday items, and asbestos is present in many buildings across the country, from hospitals to warehouses. The ill effects that asbestos can have on your health are genuinely terrifying, and the only way to combat this is to ensure that the awareness surrounding its dangers and volatility is genuinely understood. It is this understanding and risk management that is being assessed by HSE in schools across Liverpool and Merseyside, so there’s never been a better time to review your asbestos policies.
Fibre Safe offer a great range of services to our clients across Liverpool and Merseyside. We offer asbestos removal, asbestos management and asbestos survey services, along with asbestos training courses for those companies that want to take their understanding even further on how best to keep their employees and customer safe.
Our services are effortless to attain, and for more information about how our services can be of use to you or your business, get in touch with the team at our Liverpool office on 0151 515 2342 or email email@example.com.
For further information on Asbestos Management in Schools, click here.