Proper Facility Assessment During Routine Cleaning and Maintenance for a Healthy School Environment

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Why It's Important

  • A regular inspection program can identify problems before they impact the school environment and the occupants' health, including: 
    • Health problems in students and staff such as asthma attacks, lead poisoning and other chemical exposures;
    • Reduced student and staff productivity and performance;
    • School closures and costly clean-ups due to spills, accidents or other preventable environmental, health and safety issues;
    • Regulatory enforcement actions by state or federal agencies;
    • Community concern and resource-draining media attention. 

What You Can Do

  • Put a school inspection program in place that ensures all potential environmental and safety hazards are being properly managed, such as:
    • Chemical releases or pesticide exposures
    • Flaking lead paint
    • Mold and indoor air quality problems
    • Damaged asbestos-containing building materials

EPA and Federal Partners

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National Organizations

  • APPA Custodial Operation Self-Analysis Program (PDF)(15pp, 600K, About PDFis a self-analysis tool designed to identify many of the variables that influence institutional custodial operations. It also establishes standardized benchmarks for the industry.
  • School Facilities Assessment: Resource List by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles on assessing school and university buildings for construction, repair and facilities management purposes.

Regional, State and Local Resources

  • A Beginner's Guide to Reviewing EHS Issues at Your School developed by the Burlington (Massachusetts) Board of Health identifies 25 important items that should be reviewed and considered when initiating an environmental, health and safety (EHS) assessment.
  • Evaluating and Cleaning Up School Sites on the California Department of Toxic Substances Control website describes a three-step process that includes environmental site assessment, preliminary environmental assessment and response action. The website links to fact sheets, forms, advisories, guidance and statutes, regulations and policies.
  • Healthy School Environments on the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services website provides links to resources to help schools assess and address health, safety and environmental issues in school buildings. Both a fact sheet on the department's efforts to customize EPA's HealthySEAT and one on New Hampshire’s customization of the software may be downloaded from this website.