Asbestos was a popular naturally-occurring mineral commonly used in household products and building materials a few decades ago. Today however, it can only be found in a few materials and products, and those that do contain it have to be labeled as such.
A number of homes and buildings that were constructed during the 1970s up to the late 1980s are still standing today. While they don’t really pose a threat to health so long as the asbestos fibers are not disturbed, asbestos hazards in the workplace are still very much around, especially when the job requires constant handling of this dangerous mineral.
So how can employees avoid asbestos hazards in the workplace?
1. Being and staying informed
It is the employer’s job to provide information and trainings to employees, especially when the task requires the said employee to be exposed to asbestos. Companies need to comply with government standards and rules in keeping the working environment safe for their employees. However, workers also have a general duty to take care of their own health so as not to compromise the health and safety of other workers. This involves, but is certainly not limited to, the knowing the company’s policies, and staying informed by constantly checking for updates, especially regarding health and safety in the workplace.
2. Using proper equipment correctly
Equipment that allows workers to properly deal with asbestos-containing products can be expected of an OSHA-compliant company. Nevertheless, it is the worker’s responsibility to know how to use the provided equipment, and use them correctly. Failure to comply with the company’s standards and policies, particularly with the use of safety-providing equipment, may lead to health hazards, or worse, fatalities in the occupational setting.
3. Getting certified.
Safety training and certification is a necessity for workers whose daily tasks puts them at risk for exposure to asbestos. Asbestos may not be easily identifiable, and its fibers are also so tiny that they are not easily seen by the naked eye.
When released into the air, they can be inhaled into the lungs, or settle on articles of clothing which allows them to be taken out of the workplace and possibly into the worker’s home. Getting trained and certified is a necessity in order to protect not only the worker’s health and safety, but also the health and safety of those who work in the company as well as their families.
4. Helping to identify risks.
When the presence of asbestos is suspected, the worker should follow company protocol in order to have the risk identified and assessed. Part of a worker’s responsibility is to report both identified and unidentified risks, as well as participating in the implementation of risk control measures.
Employers have a duty to do what they can to ensure that their employees’ health and safety are protected at work. This includes making sure that workers are not exposed to substances that could be detrimental to their health, such as asbestos. By doing so, employees are able to work in a safe environment without risking their health. On the other hand, employees also need to do their part in keeping free from asbestos exposure. Keeping safe in the workplace is a collaborative effort.
Visit theasbestosinstitute.com for more information. This comprehensive training center seeks to educate and protect clients through a diverse group of classes and training seminars.