You know to stay away from areas that are marked with asbestos danger signs, but you might be unaware that most of today’s exposure happens to workers while at their own place of work. Many blue-collar trades are at risk for asbestos exposure every day on the job, and employers are required to keep them safe.
While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are responsible for setting the rules and regulations regarding asbestos exposure at work, your employer is required to follow the necessary steps to prevent exposure. If you work with or around asbestos, there are a few ways to avoid exposure while on the job:
- Know how to identify asbestos. This is not always an easy task. If you are not sure if you have identified asbestos, it is best to alert your employer so they can take the proper precautions to retrieve a sample and have it tested by a professional. Asbestos fibers are not visible to the human eye unless in large concentrations, making identification difficult before it is too late.
Familiarize yourself with common asbestos products, and be aware of their locations at your place of work. If you notice the products have been disturbed or are falling apart due to age, alert your employer.
- Wear protective gear and clothing. If you are working with or around asbestos, wearing protective clothing and gear should be a top priority. Your employer should provide the proper protective supplies for you to safely work around the dangerous fibers.
- Do not disturb asbestos materials. If you believe you have stumbled upon asbestos while working within an older building, do not disturb it! Asbestos materials are safe to work around if they are not falling apart, crumbling, or releasing fibers into the air. If you notice disturbed asbestos in your workplace, alert your employer and stay away from the area.
Keeping employees safe from asbestos exposure should be a large concern of American companies and businesses. Unfortunately, not all employers abide by the laws put in place by OSHA and the EPA. Asbestos exposure at work is still a major problem today, and the proper precautions should be taken around the substance.
Have you noticed asbestos materials at your work, or has your employer failed to deal with an asbestos problem? Contact Brayton Purcell LLP today. We are committed to providing justice for workers exposed to toxic substances, such as asbestos, on the job.