Asbestos still represents a health threat to Construction Workers.
It is well known among construction and demolition pros, that asbestos exposure remains a significant risk for today’s construction workers, and will pose an even greater risk for decades to come.
Asbestos continues to represent a considerable threat to the health of construction workers and the population at large. Though some applications for asbestos have been banned in the United States, the naturally occurring silicate mineral itself is not.
In the early 20th century, the medical community quickly realized the adverse health effects of this deadly mineral. That’s when cases of asbestos-related mortality were first diagnosed and documented. However, despite this newfound knowledge, the use of asbestos continued. Asbestos reached its heyday after World War II when the number of applications and products grew in the construction industry.
The mineral has since fallen from grace after more and more pertinent medical studies supported the connection between asbestos exposure and lung disease in the 1980s, but it can still be found in U.S. commercial, industrial and residential buildings erected before the mid-1980s. Awareness of the adverse health effects of asbestos grew, leading to a shift in public opinion.
Many Americans assume that asbestos is banned. It is not. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to ban asbestos in 1989. However, most of its regulations were overturned in 1991 through an appeals court ruling. The EPA has banned new uses of asbestos and its use in flooring felt, rollboard, commercial paper, corrugated paper, specialty paper and spray-applied asbestos. However, the mineral is still being imported and used in existing consumer and industrial products, mostly in roofing materials, fireproof clothing and automotive components such as gaskets and brakes.
Asbestos continues to pose a significant health threat, particularly for workers in the construction sector and for inhabitants of asbestos-infested buildings and workplaces.
Asbestos Exposure in the Construction Industry
Many occupational groups are at risk of asbestos exposure. However, the construction sector tops the list of dangerous professions, according to recent findings from Advisor Smith. In this industry, occupational hazards are accepted risks, and the threat of respiratory illness caused by asbestos exposure remains a legitimate concern.
Due to how extensively asbestos was used, construction workers will come across asbestos on a regular basis in almost every type of construction. All too often, these products remain hidden in virtually every part of a building or structure. This puts workers conducting maintenance, renovation or demolition at risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, yet they are often unaware of the dangers, especially when they lack the awareness training and knowledge about safety precautions.
Most likely, a construction worker will know that asbestos is a hazardous substance they will often encounter and that there are fines and penalties for improper handling and disposal as well as:
- Where it can be found;
- What the mineral looks like; and
- Where it was used.
There are extensive publications about the hazards of asbestos, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for proper asbestos protocol and EPA’s Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. Nevertheless, the average construction worker does not know enough about the aforementioned protocol and dangers associated with asbestos exposure.
Employers often fail to inform their workers about the health consequences of asbestos exposure and may even fail to provide them with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) or respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to wear when working with the mineral.
Identifying asbestos-containing products can be difficult given their prevalence and pervasiveness in construction. Furthermore, asbestos-containing materials become susceptible to fragmentation as they age. This can release deadly asbestos fibers into the air. Once released, asbestos fibers cannot be detected without technical equipment. Unfortunately, this is not done consistently.
Make the right call for your employees’ sake, and get rid of the problem by the hands of an expert team of professionals.
We are ECG, We are safety first.
This field definitely needs some expert hands and skill. So, have you decided on what type of project you need? Make sure you research on this for a while before coming up with a decision.
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