St Albans secondary school acts to tackle asbestos concerns

A SECONDARY school has been served with two improvement notices following random asbestos management checks by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Nicholas Breakspear School in Colney Heath Lane, St Albans, was one of 164 non-local authority controlled schools across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire to be inspected between November 2010 and June this year.

The school was one of 28 to have enforcement action taken against it, being served with improvement notices for failure to provide adequate training and failure to implement a suitable system to manage the risks from asbestos.

An improvement notice sets a legal timeframe for a particular situation to be resolved and employers failing to meet the terms of the notice may be subject to legal proceedings.

There is not considered to be an immediate danger to staff or students.

Geoff Cox, head of the HSE’s public services sector, said: “We took action where schools had fallen below acceptable standards and we are working across the education sector to raise awareness and find ways to make it clearer for schools to understand their legal responsibilities. It is important to stress that asbestos which is properly managed, remains undamaged and is not disturbed, is not a cause for concern.”

Angela Chisholm, business director at Nicholas Breakspear, said the school was pleased that the inspection was carried out.

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“Our only concern in the lead up to the inspection was to ensure that it took place with minimum disruption to students; ideally when school is not in session,” she said. “We are one of a number of schools across the country involved in this process, in line with new guidelines.”