AHERA Requirement Reminder
The federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (commonly referred to as AHERA) was signed into law in 1986. AHERA requires both public and private non-profit primary and secondary schools to inspect all buildings that are leased, owned, or otherwise used as school buildings for the presence of asbestos-containing building materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published regulations and enforces AHERA
(www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbreg.html ) These requirements include, but are not limited to:
Perform an original inspection and periodic re-inspections every three years for asbestos containing material.
Develop, maintain, and update an asbestos management plan. A copy must be kept in the school building, as well as in the district’s administrative office.
Provide an annual written notification to parent, teacher, and employee organizations regarding the availability of the school's asbestos management plan for review and any asbestos abatement actions taken or planned in the school.
Designate a contact person (also known as the asbestos designee) to ensure the responsibilities of the local education agency are properly implemented. Details on the asbestos designee’s responsibilities may be found at:
Perform a periodic visual surveillance every six months of all known or suspected asbestos containing building material.
Provide custodial staff with asbestos awareness training.
The presence of asbestos does not mean that it must be removed. The asbestos management plan must include response actions to manage the asbestos. These include establishing an operations and maintenance plan; encapsulation; enclosure, repair; or removal. Work on asbestos (including an asbestos inspection and the development of an asbestos management plan) must be performed in accordance with State Department of Labor Code Rule 56 and only by persons licensed in an appropriate asbestos discipline. See:
If a building has never been inspected for asbestos, a new AHERA inspection must be completed as soon as possible. Pursuant to AHERA Section 763.85(a), any building leased or acquired on or after October 12, 1988, that is to be used as a school building shall be inspected for asbestos prior to use as a school building. In the event that the emergency use of an uninspected building as a school building is necessitated, such building must be inspected for asbestos within 30 days after the commencement of such use. Finally, please note that the EPA enforces AHERA. Information on their enforcement program may be found at:
To assist you with the AHERA requirements, the EPA has posted information on asbestos in schools at the following web sites:
For additional assistance on AHERA, please feel free to contact the Office of Facilities Planning at emscfp.nysed.gov or 518-474-3906.