Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in construction materials, such as insulation, roofing, and flooring, due to its resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals. However, scientists have discovered that asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, when they are inhaled or ingested. As a result, the UK government has banned the use of asbestos in any form since 1999 and set strict regulations for the management and removal of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in public buildings, including schools.
The question is, are schools in Hampshire, a county in the South East England region, safe from asbestos exposure? The answer is, it depends. While the majority of schools in Hampshire have taken measures to control and remove ACMs, some are still at risk or have been found to have breached the regulations. In this landing page, we, Affordable Asbestos Removal Hampshire, a licensed and accredited asbestos removal company in Hampshire, will discuss the following topics:
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring minerals that have been mined and used for various purposes for thousands of years. The three most common types of asbestos are chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Asbestos fibers are thin and flexible, and can easily release into the air and be inhaled or ingested by humans and animals. Once in the body, they can penetrate the tissues and form scar-like fibers that can lead to inflammation, scarring, and tumor formation over time.
Asbestos exposure has been linked to numerous health disorders, including asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that causes coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain; mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart; lung cancer, which is similar to non-asbestos-related lung cancer but has a worse prognosis; and other cancers, such as laryngeal, ovarian, and gastrointestinal cancers. The latency period between exposure and onset of symptoms can range from 10 to 50 years or more, making it challenging for doctors to diagnose and treat asbestos-related diseases.
The UK government has set two main sets of regulations for asbestos management and removal in public buildings, including schools: the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR) and the Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1992 (APR). These regulations aim to:
The regulations apply to all public buildings, including schools, regardless of their age, type or size. They also require schools to inform parents, staff, and students about the presence and risks of ACMs in their premises and to take appropriate measures to minimize or eliminate any exposure.
Schools have a legal duty, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, students, and visitors. This includes managing and removing any ACMs in their buildings, as required by the CAR and APR. Specifically, schools must:
Teachers and staff also have a duty to follow the AMP and the safety procedures set by the school regarding asbestos exposure. This includes:
The risks of exposure to asbestos in schools depend on several factors, including the type, condition, and location of the ACMs, the amount and frequency of disturbance or damage, and the duration and intensity of the exposure. Generally, the risks increase when:
Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause short-term and long-term health effects, and may affect anyone who comes into contact with the fibers, including students, staff, cleaners, and visitors. The effects may not be immediately noticeable, but can accumulate over time and lead to serious diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, which have no cure and can be fatal.
ACMs can be present in any part of a school building, from the roof to the floor, and may not be visible or obvious to the naked eye. However, there are some signs that may indicate the presence of ACMs in schools, such as:
If a school suspects the presence of ACMs in their premises, they should arrange for an accredited survey and analysis of the materials, and update their AMP accordingly. They should also inform their staff and students, and take appropriate measures to control the risks or remove the ACMs, if necessary.
Asbestos removal from schools is a complex and regulated process that requires expertise and compliance with the CAR and APR. The general steps of asbestos removal from schools include:
Asbestos removal from schools should only be carried out by licensed and accredited asbestos removal contractors, who have the expertise, equipment, and insurances to safely and legally remove and dispose of ACMs. Schools should also inform their staff and students about the removal process and ensure their safety during and after the removal.
Affordable Asbestos Removal Hampshire is a licensed and accredited asbestos removal company in Hampshire, with over 20 years of experience in the asbestos industry. We offer a range of asbestos management and removal services for schools in Hampshire, including:
Our team of experienced and licensed asbestos removal operatives and technicians can provide fast, reliable, and affordable solutions to any asbestos issues in schools, without compromising on safety or quality.
To learn more about how we can help your school comply with the regulations and ensure the safety of your staff and students, please contact us at 01962 458066 or email us at [email protected]. You can also visit our website at affordable-asbestos-removal-hampshire.co.uk for more information and customer testimonials.