Asbestos in School Buildings
Public and non-profit private schools have distinct regulatory requirements to protect school children and school employees from asbestos exposure. This page provides information on these requirements as well as resource materials for schools and parents.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and its regulations require public school districts and non-profit schools including charter schools and schools affiliated with religious institutions to:
• Inspect their schools for asbestos-containing building material
• Prepare management plans and to take action to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards
These legal requirements are founded on the principle of "in-place" management of asbestos-containing material. Removal of these materials is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed by a building demolition or renovation project.
Personnel working on asbestos activities in schools must be trained and accredited in accordance with The Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan.
In addition, if removal of asbestos during renovation is warranted, or school buildings will be demolished, public school districts and non-profit schools must comply with the Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).
In addition, state and local agencies may have more stringent standards than those required by the Federal government.
How Schools Comply with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
The AHERA regulations require public school districts and non-profit schools to:
School Asbestos Management Plans
Public school districts and non-profit schools are required to develop, maintain and update asbestos management plans and to keep a copy at each individual schools. These plans are required to document the recommended asbestos response actions, the location of the asbestos within the school, and any action taken to repair and remove the material.
The school authority must maintain records to be included in the Asbestos Management Plan. These records, among other things, include:
Parents, teachers, and school employees, or their representatives, have the right to inspect the school’s asbestos management plan. Schools are required to notify parent-teacher organizations (such as PTAs) once a year about the availability of the school’s asbestos management plan and asbestos-related activity taking place within the school. The school must make the plan available for inspection within five working days of it being requested.
For a complete list of School Asbestos Management Plan Requirements, see the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule located at: http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos-laws-and-regulations
Typical locations in commercial structures