While the government banned asbestos in most of the states, there are still numerous products available in the market containing the poisonous chemical. A few examples of these products are construction materials, stoves, ovens, and vehicle brakes. If they are handled on an industrial scale, workers are at the risk of asbestos exposure.
Inhaling asbestos fibers can pose various health risks, including damage to the lungs and other organs in the body. In many cases, the symptoms don’t show up until many years later, after the initial exposure. For this reason, we are going to discuss some precautionary measures that industrial workers should take to avoid asbestos exposure.
1. Know if the worksite contains asbestos
Before you start working in any industrial area, you must always enquire if it involves asbestos exposure. For example, if you are a construction worker, there are more significant risks of asbestos exposure associated with remodeling and demolition.
Older products and materials may still contain asbestos. So, you must always ask your employers if the job site contains asbestos no matter where you work.
2. Take an asbestos safety course
In most industrial sectors, employers have a requirement to provide free training programs to their workers who will work on sites that contain asbestos. These programs are intended to prepare workers to handle asbestos safely. Thus, the information these programs center around includes:
- Methods to identify asbestos material
- Actions that can cause exposure
- How workers should use respirators
- Protocols to prevent asbestos exposure at work
- Health effects of asbestos exposure
- Medical surveillance programs
Thus, participating in these programs can prepare you to learn the protocols and preventive measures of working in an asbestos-containing environment.
However, if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illnesses or worse, seek help from credible websites such as mesotheliomahope.com that will give you ample guidance and legal help.
3. Wear a respirator
The first and most important precautionary measure is always to wear a respirator while working in areas containing asbestos. Respirators are necessary for your safety, as asbestos exposure occurs when you swallow or inhale asbestos fibers. However, a standard paper mask or a cloth of any kind will not protect you against asbestos fibers. To avoid inhaling the microscopic asbestos fibers, you will need a respirator designed explicitly for the purpose. Also, make sure to keep on wearing that respirator even when no one is working, as the slightest disturbance can make the microscopic fibers airborne again.
4. Beware of contaminated clothes
Wearing a respirator isn’t the only thing you need to do to protect yourself from asbestos. In fact, you must also wear protective clothing and equipment to stay safe from workplace dangers such as asbestos. However, these clothes and equipment will get contaminated with airborne fibers as you work. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you could carry them back home in your clothes, shoes, hair, tools, etc. You can expose your friends and family to second-hand exposure, which is just as dangerous. Therefore, make sure you clean your contaminated clothes and tools in a controlled and safe environment so that you can limit asbestos exposure. The safest option is to keep your work and home clothes separate and change before going home.
5. Dispose of asbestos material in the correct manner
Asbestos removal is not the job for the common folk, as you need proper training for this purpose. Therefore, asbestos removal is the job of a trained professional who knows how to handle and dispose of products and material that contains asbestos. They have to follow proper precautionary and safety methods to ensure everyone else’s safety. Therefore, keeping this in mind, workers should take extra preventive measures when handling asbestos.
6. Get to know the risks
It is better to know all the risks to prepare for them beforehand. The more you know about asbestos, the better off you are. Ask your employer if you are unsure whether asbestos is present at your workplace. Ask them about all the safety precautions, protocols, and methods they have set in place to keep their workers safe. Moreover, learn about all the dangers involving working with asbestos-containing products and more.
7. Undergo screenings and check-ups
There are numerous ways one can get exposed to asbestos. If not by you, then by someone else or some other environment. Hence, you should take precautionary measures by getting regular check-ups and undergoing screenings if you face respiratory issues. The reason is that asbestos-related diseases and mesothelioma don’t have any cure. A longer, healthier life is only possible with early detection.
There are many health risks associated with asbestos, which is why it is banned today. As a result, industrial workers must protect their health and their families from asbestos-containing products. Taking the steps in this list is a good starting point. But you have to be vocal about your concerns and learn to take this matter very seriously if you are working in an environment with asbestos.