It’s easy to come across news stories expressing concern about asbestos in schools, but what might not be so common to see are the regulations set in place for academic facilities old enough for hazardous building materials to be a concern.

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), briefly mentioned in 5 Asbestos Rules for Building Owners, applies directly to public and not-for-profit K-12 schools. Although there are plenty of schools in the US whose facilities are old enough to have structures built with asbestos containing materials (ACM), abatement is rarely a viable course of action. ACM removal is only necessary when the materials are deteriorating or going to be disturbed in renovation.

Assuming removal is not necessary, there are mandated regulatory procedures in place to ensure regular, thorough inspections are performed and the risk of asbestos exposure is reduced or prevented all together. Among the requirements, custodial and maintenance staff must complete asbestos awareness training.

In contrast to a full 40-hour asbestos contractor supervisor training, these awareness courses are not designed for those who perform large scale abatement. The classes last anywhere between 2 and 4 hours, and are geared towards workers who may come in contact with or occasionally work in the vicinity of asbestos.

Upon completion of their training, custodial and maintenance staff should be able to handle small abatement events and have a basic understanding of asbestos properties, the reasoning behind its widespread use, potential health effects, and how it can be safely removed and disposed of. Training providers should be able to customize the awareness course based on each individual facility and what the trainee’s job functions are.

If you have any questions about asbestos awareness training or other regulatory requirements, let us know and we will get you in contact with one of our experts.