Schools are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment that supports a productive learning environment. In addition to their academic requirements, they have many systems in place designed to protect students, faculty and staff from being exposed to harmful materials to include, but not limit to asbestos. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) is a federally and state regulated program that requires participation by staff and certified specialists. AHERA is a comprehensive management tool for schools to safely address the health impacts associated with asbestos. It established a nationwide program to manage “in-place” asbestos containing materials at schools to prevent students, faculty and staff from being exposed to damaged asbestos materials. All public and private schools are required to have an Asbestos Management Plan in place that includes a six-month surveillance inspection and a more comprehensive inspection every three years by a licensed asbestos inspector. It’s important to note that asbestos is only harmful when it is damaged or destroyed during construction or renovation activities. It is not mandatory to remove ACM unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed during demolition or renovation activities.
Facility directors have the challenge of managing several facilities without interfering with the academic schedule. A district wide asbestos management plan helps facility directors stay organized and on top of any potential asbestos issues. It’s important for a school, or any institution to understand where ACM materials are located in their buildings in order to plan ahead. The following AHERA requirements create a documented strategy for facility directors to safely manage asbestos in their schools:
- AHERA Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) for all buildings owned/leased in the district and asbestos inventory for all buildings with asbestos containing materials
- Master copy of AMP/asbestos inventory in the district office and a building copy in each building
- Annual Asbestos Designated Person for district
- Asbestos awareness training for all custodial staff
- Communication between staff and parents/students of the AMP and prior to any asbestos abatement project
- Six month surveillance and three year re-inspections
- Re-inspections/sampling performed by EPA Certified Asbestos Building Inspectors only
- Samples must be analyzed by a National Institute of Standards and Testing’s National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NIST NVLAP) laboratory
Element Environmental Solutions’ (E2S) team has over forty-seven combined years of experience performing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) inspections and developing/updating Asbestos Management Plans. Our team of Pennsylvania Licensed and EPA Certified Asbestos Building Inspectors have the experience and knowledge to assist school districts in their asbestos compliance efforts. E2S will ensure your school district is compliant with all relevant standards. E2S currently conducts six month and three year inspections for three school districts, totaling sixty-one school, office, and maintenance buildings. E2S can work with your district to provide up-to-date asbestos inventories and district plans, provide awareness training to staff, and help school officials effectively communicate information to students and parents. E2S understands the importance of ensuring the safety of your students and staff. We will help you safely manage the indoor environmental quality of your schools, so that way you can focus on providing a safe and vibrant learning environment for your students.