As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, such as Buying a Home Built Before 1990? It May Contain Asbestos, the rules around asbestos regulation in private homes is murky, with the need for inspection and abatement largely left up to the individual. This can lead to heated debates when the home is sold for the health hazards it poses to the new buyers. What isn’t murky is the laws surrounding asbestos in schools. Acts such as AHERA law down strict guidelines for schools to follow, and allow the EPA to enforce them with civil suits and fines.
Asbestos in Schools: EPA Response Timeline
While the EPA’s regulations of many asbestos products and materials may be nebulous, especial when it comes to inspection and removal, when it comes to schools they have enacted much stronger regulations:
- 1980: After performing a risk study, more than 8,500 schools were found to contain friable asbestos (asbestos that can easily become airborne), putting more than 3.25 million students and teachers at risk.
- 1982: The Asbestos-in-Schools rule was issued by the EPA, requiring schools to document and make available to staff and parents the presence of asbestos in the school and how to reduce exposure.
- 1984: Resulting from the Asbestos-in-Schools rule, many schools were under pressure to remove the asbestos without the funding to do so. The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act (ASHAA) was passed to provide grants and interest-free loans to public and private schools.
- 1984: Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), giving a wake-up call to schools to develop plans on how they would deal with asbestos and empowering the EPA to issue fines and suits to enforce federal asbestos laws.
- 1990: The last major asbestos act, the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act brought back the then-defunct ASHAA rule and required certification for contractors to practice asbestos abatement.
AHERA Guidelines for Schools
Of all the regulations passed, AHERA is the biggest focus for school administration and maintenance staff. It puts down requirements for schools to meet, staff that are responsible, and actions that must be taken.
- Every three years perform an inspection for asbestos-containing
- Develop and update a management plan for asbestos with a copy on school grounds.
- Provide yearly notifications to parents, teachers, and staff about the plan and any asbestos discovery or abatement actions.
- Designate a person to ensure that asbestos management is implemented properly.
- Regularly supervise areas that are known or suspected to contain asbestos.
- Ensure the credentials of professionals contracted to provide inspections, management plans, and any asbestos abatement actions.
- Make sure that custodial and maintenance staff are trained for asbestos awareness.
If your school detects asbestos, it’s important to act quickly and professionally. Contact Fiber Control, Inc. to get started with a consultation, from inspection all the way to removal. We’re licensed and insured asbestos contractors for Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as dealing with both mold remediation and lead RRP.