According to the CDC, Asbestos is a class of minerals that is commonly found from mining products all over the world. It isn’t common to mine today, but it does appear in old houses and buildings. That means that workers in construction, carpentry, and other building renovators are in danger of being affected by asbestos.
Why is asbestos so dangerous? Asbestos is fibrous in nature, making it most dangerous when it creates dust. The dust then enters the body and attacks your lungs. It can also be consumed through food or drink. Asbestos is dangerous at any level, meaning even a little asbestos can be extremely dangerous.
Asbestos exposure can lead to a variety of deadly diseases. The most common is asbestosis, which causes scar tissue to form in the lungs, making breathing difficult, and it gets worse over time. Though preventable, it is incurable. Asbestos can also cause cancer, usually mesothelioma.
How do you recognize asbestos? There are specific methods for identifying asbestos that are performed by a competent person. They monitor a worksite by taking samples of the air. You should also take a medical examination every year or when you decide to leave the job.
How do you protect yourself from asbestos poisoning? If you are working and suspect that asbestos may be in the air, stop what you are doing and leave the area. Make sure to warn your coworkers and manager of the hazards as well.
There are also extensive procedures for wearing PPE. Some PPE includes respirators, gloves, coveralls, and so on. Remember to inspect, clean, and store this equipment properly.
According to OSHA’s health and safety standards, respirators must be provided for the employees. It is the employer’s responsibility to keep their workers safe and have respirators provided during:
- The installation of work-practice controls
- Any work operation where engineering controls are not yet sufficient to reduce exposure
Go to the Hard Hat Training website to learn more about respiratory protection. There are also numerous additional articles and training programs that contain more information about asbestos and how stay healthy on the job. Good luck and stay safe!