Schools Asbestos Risks and Proper Management
In 1983, Iceland and several European Union (EU) countries banned asbestos. Since then, it’s been banned in over 50 countries. The US isn’t one of them, as school asbestos risks still prevail.
It’s still present in buildings built before 1980, including schools. However, there are specific regulatory requirements that safeguard students and staff. This includes a school asbestos management plan. A facet of this is a school asbestos risk assessment.
Where is asbestos found in schools? This article delves into this and provides a guide on asbestos management in schools. You’ll also learn how to do a risk assessment in your school. Read on to learn more.
Asbestos Management in Schools
What’s the key to having an effective asbestos management strategy? It ensures your school complies with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
This involves performing an initial inspection of your building. You’ll need to develop an asbestos management plan based on these findings. You’ll need to maintain and update this with every subsequent inspection.
This is particularly important if there is asbestos present at your school. The plan should always be available. Parents can request it despite the annual notifications you provide to them.
Custodial staff should also have training in asbestos awareness.
Where is Asbestos Found in Schools?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. It became a significant component in building materials from the 1940s to 1970s. However, exposure became linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases over time.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to identify signs of asbestos as it can be in various products, including:
- Some cement and vinyl flooring
- Ceiling tiles and sealants
- Wallboards or plastering
- Roofing materials
An inspection is usually the primary way of detecting asbestos in schools.
How to Do a Risk Assessment in School
Testing for asbestos should occur before a risk assessment. There are five major steps involved in the asbestos risk management process:
Identifying Health Risks
This determines the hazards and health risks involved. It looks at the amount and type of asbestos present. Examination of the source is also crucial at this stage. It will identify if it’s intact or disturbing and its friability level.
Identifying Persons Who Could Be Harmed
The most apparent would-be individuals closest to the source for extended periods. This can include staff, students, or persons working or visiting the school. You’ll then need to identify the possible level of exposure involved.
Identifying Precautions Required to Remove or Lessen the Risk
It’s essential to remove the risk as far as possible. Complete removal has its own exposure risk and isn’t always possible. But there are steps that you can take to lessen associated hazards.
Recording and Implementing Findings
You’ll need to record all the steps above. These will become a part of your asbestos management plan. You’ll also need to communicate any measures you take to affected employees.
Reviewing and Updating the Assessment
The conditions of your building will change over time. This can increase exposure and will require a re-inspection. You should note any changes or updates.
Getting Asbestos Management in Schools Right
The health and safety of students and staff should be the main priority of all schools. Any presence of asbestos in your school will be an inherited one. Regardless, you’ll need to safeguard all occupants at your school.
You’ll need to do a school asbestos risk assessment. This article outlined how to do a risk assessment in a school. It also provided the answer to Where is asbestos found in schools? Effective asbestos management in schools is the key to keeping students and staff safe.
However, if you’re uncertain, Atlantic Environmental can help. We provide asbestos testing and monitoring. We can also develop a remediation plan for you. Contact us to find out more!