Due to its strength, flexibility in its thermal chemical resistance, and a high degree of frictional properties, asbestos is employed in a range of industries. Most asbestos is utilized in construction materials, insulation, friction materials, and textiles. Industrial workers, including mechanics, chemical workers, and machine operators, are at risk of asbestos exposure since their jobs could require welding, mold, grinding, or cutting asbestos-containing materials.
Mesothelioma cancer, which develops in the protective lining of the abdomen or lungs in a lengthy period following asbestos exposure, is one of the most devastating health disorders that may result from exposure to asbestos. The experts believe there isn’t a safe limit for exposure to asbestos, but asbestos-related diseases are often caused by prolonged and intense exposure to asbestos.
How Can Workers Protect Themselves?
Exposure to asbestos can be dangerous for industrial employees. If left in its natural state, the fibrous mineral is entirely safe. However, the mineral can be toxic when it is disturbed. While it may seem that asbestos exposure is inevitable in the workplace, several steps can be taken to minimize or reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos.
1. Be aware of areas and products that may be exposed to asbestos.
A good understanding of where asbestos can be found and what items could contain asbestos is among the most effective methods to minimize asbestos exposure. If you can detect or suspect the presence of asbestos and suspect it’s present, you’ll be more inclined to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
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2. Ensure proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safe work practices.
Employers who handle asbestos-containing substances must take measures to reduce or eliminate asbestos exposure, including the use of personal safety equipment. A respiratory protection device for preventing breathing asbestos fibers is necessary when asbestos is present or suspected. To prevent asbestos fibers from being carried off the site on clothes, use protective shoes and overalls suitable to the task.
The issues to be considered include methods for housekeeping, wet cleaning, and vacuuming debris and waste that contain asbestos and the proper disposal of asbestos-containing rubbish and debris. The importance of following protective work practices and procedures cannot be overstated or under-estimated.
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3. Remove asbestos-containing materials correctly.
The family members of employees and their employers could get exposed to asbestos fibers, not knowing they are carrying them home on their clothes, shoes, hair, or equipment. To reduce the risk of exposure, dispose of any contaminated clothing in a safe and controlled environment. Workers should also change their clothes before going home.
For complete security, only qualified specialists should take away asbestos. Workers should be aware of the precautions to take when dealing with asbestos, particularly when removing or disposing of asbestos-containing products.
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4. Be sure to follow the proper asbestos information and course of instruction.
Employers are responsible for creating and delivering an asbestos training and education program to their workers. This should include details on the dangers of asbestos and its health consequences, including engineering controls, work practices, protective measures including acceptable work practices, emergency, and clean-up protocols and personal protection equipment, and an ongoing medical monitoring program.
5. Undergo medical screening and check-ups.
Since asbestos-related illnesses do not have a cure, early detection is vital to survival. If you are exposed to or work around asbestos, you must undergo annual testing. Most asbestos-related disorders develop slowly. Mesothelioma is diagnosed between 20 and 50 years after the initial asbestos exposure. Your primary medical provider should be informed of your exposure.
The symptoms of many asbestos diseases are similar to flu symptoms or pneumonia. If you have any symptoms and have been exposed to asbestos, consult your physician immediately.