Asbestos Management in Schools
Asbestos management in schools has been governed in large part through the Federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986. This act required schools to identify all known locations of asbestos-containing building materials, and to prepare an asbestos management plan for each building.
Management abatement methods to respond to friable or hazardous asbestos materials include one or more of the following: operation and maintenance; repair; encapsulation; enclosure; and removal. There are several ongoing asbestos management tasks that should be undertaken to comply with the law including the following:
All maintenance and custodial employees must attend at least a two-hour training course in asbestos awareness, and new maintenance employees must receive instruction within 60 days following the commencement of their employment. Any maintenance and custodial employees who perform any activities that may disturb asbestos must attend at least 30 hours of training.
Any employee working on any aspect of an asbestos project must be certified and accredited by the state and/or EPA.
Schools must properly transport and dispose of asbestos waste.
Schools must use a properly trained AHERA designated person to ensure that asbestos-related activities are properly conducted and entered into the asbestos management plan.
Short-term workers (telephone repair, electricians, plumbers, for instance) must be informed of the locations of asbestos containing building materials in the building. Warning labels must be posted in routine maintenance areas (boiler rooms, pipe tunnels, air handling rooms, for instance) to prominently identify any asbestos containing materials or suspected materials.
School building occupants (faculty, staff, parents, legal guardians) must be notified in writing at least once during each school year regarding the status of the building's on-going asbestos activities, including information on the availability for the public to review the asbestos management plan during normal business hours.
At least once every six months, the school must conduct a visual surveillance of all asbestos containing materials and assumed materials in each building to see if there have been any changes in the conditions of the asbestos.
Records must be kept of the surveillance and findings.
Every three years, schools must conduct an inspection to identify all locations of friable and non-friable asbestos.
Even schools with no asbestos detected need to comply with certain requirements of AHERA. For detailed information on requirements for asbestos management, contact EPA or the Washington Department of Labor & Industries. Courtesy of The Washington State Department of Health