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SELECT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER ASBESTOS IN SCHOOLS

Enquiry to examine management systems and regulatory approach

The Education Select Committee is holding a one-off enquiry about asbestos in schools on 13 March 2013. Those appearing before the committee include the Rt Hon David Laws MP, Minister for Schools and an HSE representative.

The enquiry will consider the available evidence about the risks that asbestos containing materials create in schools. It will seek to establish whether the existing management systems and regulatory approach is sufficient.

The impact that changes in both school management and school building programmes have had on asbestos management will also be examined.

MPs report prompted enquiry

The Select Committee enquiry follows publication of Asbestos in schools. The need for action by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety in 2012.

This report includes recommendations that the Government should set a programme for the phased removal of asbestos from all schools, and that pro-active inspections to determine the standards of asbestos management should be reinstated.

HSE will provide a written statement to the Committee setting out the current evidence about the risks and explain that the current legal framework requires the risks from asbestos in buildings to be actively managed.

The full recommendations are that:

  1. The Government should set a programme for the phased removal of asbestos from all schools, with priority being given to those schools where the asbestos is considered to be most dangerous or damaged.
  2. Standards in asbestos training should be set and the training should be mandatory. The training should be properly funded. 
  3. It is recommended that the DfE and HSE jointly develop asbestos guidance specifically for schools and that current standards be reviewed.
  4. A policy of openness should be adopted. Parents, teachers and support staff should be annually updated on the presence of asbestos in their schools and the measures that are being taken to manage it.
  5. Pro-active inspections to determine the standards of asbestos management should be reinstated, with a view to reducing future costs.
  6. Data should be collected centrally on the extent, type and condition of asbestos in schools and this bcomes an integral part of the data collection of the condition of the nation’s schools.

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