Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos can cause diseases which take lives. We know how important it is to you to protect your school, pupils and employees from harm’s way, which is why managing asbestos safely could not be more important.

From educating your appointed person(s) on what and where asbestos may be within the building to advising you on the best way to appropriately survey, monitor and manage it going forward, Citation can help you be proactive in your approach.

Citation can support you with:

  • Identifying and assessing risk across your school by carrying out asbestos surveys
  • Comprehensive education and training on asbestos and its risks
  • Developing procedures and processes for managing asbestos materials
  • Carrying out action reporting and planning necessary remedial work and demolition
  • Response to exposure and accident reporting
  • Ensuring your school is fully compliant with all the relevant Health & Safety regulations

Why is asbestos dangerous and where could it be found in schools?

Asbestos was a building material that was used extensively across Great Britain from the 1950s to the 1980s, before the main three types were banned over the following decade.

When fibres are released from broken asbestos-containing materials, they can become airborne and inhaled. This can cause serious diseases which can be fatal, with an average latency period of 30 to 40 years between exposure to asbestos fibres and the onset of disease, though this is much less in children.

Many schools built before 2000 will contain some form of asbestos. Asbestos-containing materials include:

  • Asbestos lagging used as thermal insulation on pipes and boilers
  • Sprayed asbestos used for thermal insulation, fire protection, partitioning and ducts
  • Asbestos-insulating board (AIB) used for fire protection, thermal insulation, partitioning and ducts
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Cement roofing and guttering
  • Textured coatings

Who is responsible for managing asbestos in schools?

The ‘duty holder’ is whoever is responsible for the maintenance and repair of your school premises. For most schools, the duty holder will be the employer, which, as you will know, depends on the school type.

For community schools, community special schools, voluntary-controlled schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units, this refers to the Local Authority.

For academies, free schools, voluntary-aided and foundation schools, it will be the school governors, while it may be the proprietor, governors or trustees for independent schools.

In situations where budgets for building management are delegated to schools by the Local Authority, the duty to manage asbestos will be shared between schools and the Local Authority.

What should be the role of your employees?

Though most of your employees will not be directly involved in managing the buildings or carrying out repair or maintenance work, all employees need to be made aware of the potential hazards, as they may work close to the risk.

You should instruct all your employees to not disturb or damage ACMs, such as by pinning or tacking work to insulation board or ceiling tiles.

Employees should also be informed to report damage to school fixtures or fittings that could lead to the release of asbestos fibres, such as damage to ceiling tiles, floor tiles or column seals in system-built schools.

ACMs are most likely to create risk in a school when disturbed or damaged through maintenance, repair, general wear and tear or construction activities. This reinforces the need for effective communication of your Health & Safety handbook, procedures and policies, ensuring everyone involved with your school is aware of their responsibilities.

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