Asbestos exposure can impact the lives of workers from a seemingly endless list of occupations – as well as their families. From construction workers to auto mechanics – from factory workers to miners – the threat of asbestos exposure is a daily concern often with fatal consequences.
Is your employer doing everything they can to protect you?
While the active use of asbestos has stopped, employers must remember that decades of aggressive use has resulted in pipes, fittings, insulation and other construction materials relying on the heat-resistant properties of the fibers. Whether it is a home renovation, demolition or large-scale construction project, employers and supervisors must remain vigilant in protecting their workers from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
- Testing: From popcorn ceilings to attic insulation, construction materials used prior to 1980 should be tested to determine the presence of asbestos fibers. If these materials are broken or pulverized, they can release the deadly fibers into the air – leading to inhalation.
- Safety gear: Workers must be provided with the gear necessary to keep them safe through the completion of the project. The gear can vary based on the job requirements, but can include respirators with heavy filters, safety masks and a hooded protective jumpsuit.
- Safe clean-up: Closely related to the previous point, employees should never be forced to go home wearing contaminated clothing or safety gear. Jumpsuits, gloves, shoes or goggles should all be left at the worksite to prevent the accidental exposure of family members or other loved ones. This clothing must be cleaned with industrial-strength machines rather than common consumer appliances.
- Education: From posting OSHA-approved warning signs to clearly discussing the dangers of working with hazardous materials, workers in all industries must have a clear, realistic understanding of the job they are completing.
These and other strategies can protect a worker from asbestos exposure. The inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers can result in serious lung diseases including the fatal cancer mesothelioma. If you were exposed to asbestos or you fear a loved one was exposed, it is crucial that you seek the legal guidance of a skilled mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible.