The HSE will be carrying out a programme of inspections in primary and secondary schools from October 2023. The inspections will be assessing how sites are managing the risks from asbestos within their buildings.
During their 2022/23 inspections, the HSE found significant failings in management systems – leading to enforcement action being taken – in 7% of schools.
To assist sites, the HSE have published a revised Asbestos Management Checklist.
All sites that have Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) present must ensure they have:
- an asbestos register
- an up to date asbestos management plan
- records of periodic monitoring of the condition of any ACMs (as suggested by the asbestos survey) records of
- communicating the presence of ACMs to contractors (where necessary)
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR) place duties on those with responsibility for the maintenance of work premises to manage the risk from asbestos.
HSE inspectors will contact sites in advance to arrange a suitable date and time for an inspection. They will need to speak to someone with knowledge of how asbestos is managed by the site, and may also ask to see certain documents in advance of the visit e.g. your asbestos register and management plan.
Sites should review their current arrangements and check that they are meeting their duties under CAR:
- take reasonable steps to find out if there are ACMs in the premises – and if so, the amount, where it is and what condition it is in, i.e. an asbestos survey has been conducted by an approved contractor
- make – and keep up to date – a record of the location and condition of any ACMs (or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos), i.e. the asbestos register
- assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
- prepare an asbestos management plan (AMP) that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
- take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
- 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
- provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on, or disturb them – contractors should be shown the asbestos register, and it is good practice to maintain a record of this communication
Should you require guidance in relation to your management of asbestos, this is available at https://www.hse.gov.uk/education/asbestos.htm and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/asbestos-management-in-schools , or you can get in touch to have access to our school’s health and safety team.