According to a fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Asbestos is the name given to a category of naturally occurring minerals that can cause serious disease in many organs, including the lungs.
Our worker’s compensation lawyers in Spartanburg want all workers to know that serious illnesses may not appear immediately and problems could appear years after the exposure.
Asbestosis may cause buildup of a scar-like tissue inside the lungs that causes a loss of lung function. This condition can progress to severe disability and eventually cause death. Unfortunately, fibers of asbestos that cause these health risks are far to small to be seen with the naked eye.
Individuals who smoke regularly are at an increased risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.
Many workers may be exposed to asbestos regularly without knowing. Some individuals may be exposed to fibers of asbestos while manufacturing asbestos-containing goods. Exposure to asbestos is also possible when performing clutch and brake repairs.
Another major source of asbestos exposure is in the construction industry, when buildings are renovated that contain asbestos. Workers in a maritime environment may be exposed to asbestos when demolishing or renovating ships which contain asbestos.
Custodial workers are also at risk of asbestos exposure by coming into contact with deteriorating materials that contain asbestos in buildings.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration already has multiple standards designed to protect employers from exposure to asbestos.
Employers are required to keep track the measures taken to monitor all employees exposure to asbestos. Employers must also keep track of training records going back one year.
There are many ways to avoid harmful exposure to asbestos.
Although it is preferred to avoid asbestos exposure completely if an employee suspects they are going to be exposed there are five important steps they can take:
1. Wear a mask: Workers who are in an environment where asbestos exposure is a continuous threat must always wear safety equipment. Anyone who works at a company which cleans asbestos out of old structures should utilize a breathing apparatus that is manufactured to protect against dust, toxic substances, and gases.
2. Wash clothing: Employees who come into contact with asbestos should wash their clothing away from the home. If your company does not provide a place to do this then it is important that you separate out clothing that is contaminated and rinse it to prevent asbestos fibers from being airborne.
3. Shower: Fibers of Asbestos can travel via the air and can attach themselves to hair and skin. It is important to shower as soon as your work day is over.
4. Proper abatement: Do not take shortcuts when working with asbestos. Proper procedures to avoid exposure should be followed at all times.
5. Make yourself aware: Education is key to preventing unnecessary exposure to asbestos. If you are able to identify products that contain asbestos you are more likely to take proper precautions.
Contact our Carolina worker’s compensation attorneys today by calling 800-887-1965.
More Blog Posts:
Fatal Transportation injuries are Primary Cause of Workplace Fatalities, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 1, 2013.
Why NC Workers Fail to Report Workplace Hazards, North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Blog, October 29, 2013.