top of page
CBJ Environmental | Bellingham, Massachusetts

AHERA Inspections in Schools

High School Exterior

What is a AHERA?

AHERA stands for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. AHERA was enacted to protect children in schools and immediately address any asbestos hazards.  The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA) of 1992 extended AHERA regulations to cover public and commercial buildings as well.

Asbestos becomes a hazard when it is impacted or delaminates and becomes airborne. If a material containing asbestos remains in good/intact condition, it can be maintained in place. This determination is the purpose of the initial AHERA inspection followed by mandatory AHERA re-inspections to be completed every three years.

Partner with CBJ Environmental
for AHERA Compliance

CBJ Environmental works with schools and superintendents to ensure that all buildings on school properties meet AHERA requirements in Massachusetts and beyond. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation and estimate.

Untitled design - 2023-10-16T115728.469.png

Guidance for Massachusetts Superintendents

General AHERA Requirements 

Schools are required to maintain asbestos-containing materials in good condition, in accordance with the EPA’s Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule, 40 CFR 763.80 through 763.99. This regulation is commonly known as “AHERA.”  The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards administers and enforces AHERA for all K-12 schools in Massachusetts.  



AHERA applies to public and private not-for-profit elementary and secondary schools, K-12, including charter schools and schools with religious affiliation.


General AHERA Requirements

Schools are required to 1) identify asbestos-containing materials in their buildings; 2) maintain asbestos-containing materials in good condition; 3) notify occupants; and 4) maintain records.  This bulletin highlights the major requirements of the regulation. For specific details, refer to


Identify Asbestos-containing materials:


Schools must be inspected by a licensed Asbestos Inspector to identify the presence and condition of any asbestos-containing materials (ACM).    For new construction the requirement for an initial asbestos inspection may be waived if a certification statement is available that documents there were no asbestos-containing materials specified or used in the building. The certification statement may be made by the architect, project engineer responsible for the construction of the new building, or by a licensed Asbestos Inspector after a review of construction documents.  If no certification is available, a full AHERA inspection is required.


A reinspection is required every three years. The inspection must be conducted by an accredited Asbestos Inspector.  The school must maintain inspection and reinspection reports, including supporting laboratory reports.

Description of Asbestos-Containing Materials:

The school’s Asbestos Management Plan must maintain a floorplan, diagram or written description of all asbestos-containing materials in a school.

  • Identity and description of material;

  • Whether the material is confirmed by testing, or assumed to contain asbestos;

  • Location and quantity of material;

  • Condition of material; and

  • Recommendations by a licensed Management Planner for maintenance or abatement of material.


Maintain Asbestos-Containing Materials in Good Condition:

Materials must be maintained in good condition to prevent occupant and worker exposure to asbestos.

  • Appoint a Designated Person to oversee that the AHERA requirements are met. The Designated Person must receive training

  • Repair or Remove Damaged ACM. Damaged ACM may be identified during a reinspection or periodic surveillance.  Follow recommendations provided by your licensed Management Planner after each 3-year reinspection.

  • Implement an Asbestos Management Plan. A Management Plan must be developed by a Massachusetts licensed Management Planner, and is based on the inspection conducted by a licensed Asbestos Inspector. If there is no ACM present in your building, a Management Plan is still required.  o Implement an Operations and Maintenance Program. The O&M program provides specific procedures and work practices for routine maintenance and repair operations which may disturb asbestos and for the clean-up of minor asbestos spills.

  • Provide O&M Equipment. Depending upon the type of ACM in your school, HEPA vacuums, wet mopping, and other equipment may be required

  • Train Custodians and Maintenance Staff:  a 2-hour Asbestos Awareness training is required for custodians who work in the vicinity of ACM; a 16-hour Operations and Maintenance training is required for maintenance and trades personnel who may disturb asbestos.

  • Conduct periodic surveillance every six months to monitor condition of ACM.

  • Hire licensed Asbestos Contractors and Consultants.


Notify Occupants:
  • Post warning signs in custodial and maintenance areas where ACM is present.

  • Notify custodians and maintenance staff of the types and locations of ACM.

  • Notify vendors and contractors who may disturb ACM, of the presence of ACM in their work area (i.e. Plumbers, heating contractors, computer contractors). A sample is enclosed and posted at

  • Distribute an annual notification to all building occupants regarding the availability of the management plan. (a sample notification is enclosed and posted at


Maintain Records:

The school shall maintain and update its Management Plan to keep it current, including:

  • Asbestos Abatement records and clearance air sampling reports.

  • O&M Activities: maintain documentation in the Management Plan.

  • Periodic Surveillance: maintain documentation in the Management Plan.

  • Bulk Sampling Reports. 

bottom of page