HSE inspectors to assess the management of asbestos in schools
The HSE will be carrying out a programme of inspections to primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales from September 2022 onwards.
The inspections will be assessing how schools are managing the risks from asbestos within the school estate and meeting the ‘duty to manage’ (DTM) requirements under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR). The regulations place duties on those with responsibility for the maintenance of work premises, including schools, to manage the risk from asbestos. For the majority of schools, this will be the employer.
Who will be carrying out the inspections?
The visits will be carried out by HSE inspectors, who will contact the school before visiting to arrange a suitable date and time for the inspection. They will need to speak to someone with knowledge of how asbestos is managed by the school and may also ask to see certain documentation in advance of the visit e.g. your asbestos register and management plan.
What should schools do to prepare for these inspections?
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
presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
make, and keep up to date, a record of the location and condition of any ACMs - or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
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
How can SG World Help?
Specialist jobs like asbestos management will invariably involve bringing in external contractors. It's important to remember that contracting out a job does not mean contracting out your health and safety responsibilities. If an accident happens on school premises you have a basic duty to check that contractor is capable, well-informed, monitored and working in safe conditions.
SG World's 5D contractor and permit to work software includes a contractor database helping schools perform due diligence in selecting and monitoring their contractors. It effectively gives you a central library where you can access information on specific jobs and contractors including any supporting documentation such as method statements and training certificates. Furthermore, issues with any documentation can be flagged in the system and diarised for updates.