North Reading Schools Participate in Asbestos Awareness Training
North Reading schools recently participated in an Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) Awareness Training seminar as required under federal environmental protection regulations, offered for custodial employees and designated school system managers. The three-hour training program was held on November 14 at the Andover Police Station for a total of 14 employees from around the state, and was presented free of charge by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), the town of North Reading's property and casualty insurance provider.
Janet McKenna, an environmental engineer with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, conducted the AHERA Awareness Training program, which focused on the roles and responsibilities of both K-12 school custodians and the official AHERA Designated Person in each Local Education Agency.
- Custodians learned about general asbestos awareness topics such as health effects, properties of asbestos, how to manage asbestos safely in place, operations and maintenance practices, common locations of asbestos within a building, and asbestos management planning.
- AHERA Designated Persons, who will manage local adherence to the requirements, learned about selection of licensed personnel to perform abatement projects, inspections, notifications, and air testing. They also covered recordkeeping requirements, obligations for both new and renovated schools, proper management of materials, and how to avoid the top 10 AHERA violations.
“We’re appreciative of these training opportunities that allow us to stay current with industry standards for asbestos safety,” said Carl Nelson, Director of Finance & Operations for North Reading Schools. “We conduct the inspections at all of our schools according to the mandated schedules. And we receive credits on our insurance premiums. This is a win-win situation for all.”
AHERA mandates that all K-12 schools, including public, private, charter and church affiliated, must conduct specific asbestos inspection activities; keep asbestos-containing building materials in good condition; and use properly trained and/or licensed people to conduct any asbestos related work. Upon completion of the AHERA Awareness Training and other MIIA risk- and loss-prevention programs, North Reading is eligible to receive insurance premium credits through the MIIA Rewards Programs, reducing its property and casualty insurance costs.
MIIA is the non-profit, member-based insurance arm of the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) insuring nearly 400 cities, towns, and other public entities in the state. In fiscal year 2012, nearly 8,000 city and town employees participated in nearly 400 MIIA-sponsored technical trainings and management seminars offered throughout the state. Member municipalities' efforts yielded more than $2.6 million of premium credit collectively through the MIIA Rewards incentive program for a 10-year total of over $17.3 million. For more information please visit www.emiia.org and www.mma.org.