HSE begins asbestos in schools inspection programme

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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

From October, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials will contact schools across the UK to arrange asbestos inspections. The regulator has set up this programme to assess how this dangerous material is being managed by primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales.

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, employers and those responsible for premises have a duty to manage asbestos risks. HSE will want to see that this duty is being met, speaking directly with dutyholders. They will also ask to see key documents, including each school’s asbestos register and management plan.

Announcing the programme, HSE said:

“In advance of the inspections, schools may wish to review their current arrangements and check that they are meeting their duties under CAR, which includes requirements to take reasonable steps to find out if there are asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the school premises, and if so, the amount, where it is and what condition it is in.

“They should presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not.

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“They should make, and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of any ACMs – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos. A requirement is to assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified. They should prepare an asbestos management plan (AMP) that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed and take the necessary steps to put the plan into action.

“Another requirement is to periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements, and act on the findings, so the plan and arrangements remain relevant and up to date.

“[They must] also provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on, or disturb them.”

It's estimated that 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work, and of those, 107,000 die from exposure every year. With 5,000 deaths last year, asbestos is the biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

An inspection campaign was carried out during the last academic year, so the HSE will be looking at whether areas of improvement identified previously have now been addressed. The findings of the 2022/23 inspection campaign are published on the HSE website.

For answers to questions on asbestos, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like We have had an asbestos survey completed and it has highlighted that there is asbestos in our workplace, do we need to get it removed?

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