Breathe Easy | Asbestos Dangers in the Workplace: 8 Safety Tips

Due to the danger it poses, asbestos has been banned from use in most products in the United States. However, today’s workers can still be exposed to asbestos in the workplace, while working on demolition, renovation and various construction, manufacturing, or automotive activities.

Asbestos fibers, too small to be seen with the naked eye, can be inhaled and cause serious damage to the lungs and organs. Asbestos exposure can scar the lungs, which can lead to loss of lung function, disability, cancer and death. Diseases can develop years after exposure and it’s important to note there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

OSHA has published regulations to protect workers from asbestos exposure in the workplace. Where there is exposure, employers are required to establish regulated areas, control work practices, and use engineering controls in order to reduce risks. Workers need to be properly trained to recognize asbestos hazards and to take the proper precautions.

Below are 8 quick tips to help workers avoid asbestos exposure:

  • Always make sure you’ve been properly trained prior to working in areas which might contain asbestos.
  • Don’t disturb sources of asbestos until proper assessment and control measures have been taken.
  • Don’t eat, drink, chew gum or smoke in areas where asbestos exposure is possible.
  • Dust and waste should be cleaned up and removed using a vacuum with a HEPA filter or by damp mopping/wet sweeping, and placed in a container. Avoid dry-sweeping, shoveling, or cleanup of dry dust and debris containing asbestos.
  • Wet down materials that could release asbestos fibers before cutting, breaking, or doing other work with them.
  • Use the proper protective equipment which can be removed and cleaned or discarded after asbestos exposure. Ensure you use the proper NIOSH-approved respirator for your level of exposure.
  • In order to avoid carrying asbestos fibers from the worksite to other locations, leave and wash your work clothes at your workplace, and shower at work after asbestos work.
  • Use soap and water to wash exposed parts of the body.

For more information on Protecting Workers from Asbestos Exposure, see the OSHA Asbestos page or watch a Demo of our 100% Online Asbestos Awareness training.

Date Posted: 04-15-2020
Tags: asbestos awareness training, asbestos training, osha asbestos,
Categories: OSHA Safety,