Achieving compliance in schools, colleges and universities

Feb. 5 2019

Despite continued campaigns and strict health and safety legislation, many schools, colleges and universities are still not doing enough to ensure safety in relation to electrical installations and asbestos. 

Last month, with less than a month to go until the new reporting deadline, almost a quarter of schools had failed to inform the government how much asbestos they have in their buildings and how they are managing the risks. Many more remain unaware of their obligations surrounding the routine inspection of fixed electrical testing. 

But with the risk of huge fines for non-compliance, not to mention to risk to pupils, staff, visitors and premises, it is vital that education establishments take the appropriate measures, in the most efficient way. 

How Bureau Veritas can help 

Bureau Veritas is one of few partners in the UK that can offer support with both fixed electrical testing and asbestos management and reporting. With vast experience within the education sector we understand the importance of minimising disruption for students, which is why we work in partnership with clients to undertake work in holiday periods, like the upcoming Easter break. 

Our experienced team also offers: 

    •  Regulatory understanding – we can tell you what you need to do, without the jargon
    • Peace of mind – confidence that your premises are compliant with the latest regulations 

    Why does it matter?

    Non-compliance with health and safety regulations is not an option, particularly in schools, colleges and universities where asbestos is not uncommon due to the age and structure of many buildings. 

    A few facts to consider: 

    • 86% of all schools in the UK contain asbestos, which means more than seven million children are at risk of exposure
    • More than 200 teachers have died since 2001 from mesothelioma, a form of cancer associated with asbestos
    • From 2006 to 2016, over £10 million was paid in compensation to former pupils and members of staff exposed to asbestos in schools in England and Wales
    • Appointing an electrical contractor to undertake electrical inspections does NOT dissolve your obligations as a duty holder but does form part of your electrical safety and compliance programme.
    • Offences committed under the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) can result in up to a £20,000 fine for each offence if dealt with in a Magistrates court or unlimited fines and/or prison sentences if dealt with by the Crown court 

    Know your obligations

    Under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) and Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), duty holders have a responsibility to ensure that fixed electrical installations are safe. Schools are required to carry out routine checks on fixed electrical installations every six months (12 months for commercial organisations) and formal fixed electrical testing every 5 years. If there is a swimming pool on site, formal Inspection and testing must be done every 12 months 

    In addition, under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, if you own, occupy, manage or have a responsibility for property, you have a legal duty to assess and manage the risk from Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). All schools must also inform the government how much asbestos they have in their buildings and how they are managing the risks by 15 February 2019 – with the deadline already having been extended on numerous occasions because of low response rates. 

    Understandably it can seem like a minefield, which is why many organisations continue to put their trust in Bureau Veritas.

    Get in touch

    Bureau Veritas offers a comprehensive range of services to help meet your statutory obligations and achieve compliance in schools, colleges and universities. 

    The Easter holidays are fast approaching – an ideal opportunity to book inspections – so why not contact our experienced team today to discuss your requirements?

    Call us on 0345 600 1828 or email