Asbestos Awareness Training | What You Need To Know About The Dangers Of Asbestos
Asbestos is one of the most widely recognized health hazards in the workplace, especially in the construction industry and in ship repair where asbestos exposure is much heavier. Asbestos is heavily regulated by both OSHA and EPA and training classes are available to help workers, managers, and supervisors follow these regulations. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is resistant to both heat and corrosion and is found in several different products. It has been used in the insulation of pipes, building materials, floor tiles, vehicle brakes, and vehicle clutches to name a few. Usually, workers are exposed to asbestos while manufacturing asbestos products like the ones we mentioned above, but there are still too many workers who are uneducated on the dangers of asbestos and what they can do to prevent exposure. Asbestos awareness training is paramount for any worker who will be working with asbestos products, or will be involved in the manufacturing of asbestos products. Here we will discuss why.
Asbestos can be extremely dangerous because asbestos fibers are so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause a number of health issues including the buildup of scar tissue in the lungs called asbestiosis. Asbestiosis can result in loss of lung functions that a majority of the time will advance to disability and even death. Asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma of the pleura, a specific type of asbestos disease, is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane that lines the stomach or lungs. According to epidemiologic studies, all asbestos fiber types, especially the most common form of asbestos, chrysotile, can result in the development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos is obviously a very dangerous mineral that can result in disability and death, so it is important to understand the mineral fibers it can consist of. Generally speaking, asbestos is made of materials that have been chemically altered in some way, but it is most prominently made of the minerals chrysotile, amosite, tremolite, actinolite, crocidolite, or anthophyllite. These minerals are usually used in the production or manufacturing process, so it is important to take the proper measures to protect yourself against exposure while working with these specific minerals. The most common exposures to asbestos occur when renovating structures, repairing, or demolishing. Workers are also commonly exposed to asbestos when producing textiles, insulation, building materials, or friction products like vehicle brakes and clutches.
OSHA regulations require that employers reduce the risk of asbestos exposure for their employees by providing personal exposure monitoring. This will help evaluate the risk and hazard awareness training for operations in which their is a possibility of exposure to asbestos. Even asbestos exposure lasting only a few days can result in serious health problems, most specifically mesothelioma. OSHA has set legal worker exposure limits, but there is still no “safe” level of exposure to asbestos, regardless of which type of fiber workers are being exposed to. If there is exposure, employers are required by law to further protect their employees by establishing regulated areas which will control specific practices within the workplace along with implementing engineering controls to reduce airborne asbestos levels. Personal protective equipment is also required when working with asbestos and medical monitoring of employees is required when legal limits and exposure times of asbestos has been exceeded.
As you can see, asbestos exposure in the workplace can be extremely dangerous and even deadly if it is not treated according to set rules and regulations. The best preventive measure against asbestos is asbestos awareness training and the wearing of the correct personal protective equipment when working with asbestos fibers. It is not worth it to ignore asbestos practices, no matter what type of justification you think you may have. Your company’s credibility and your employee’s lives depend on it.