Exposure to asbestos can irritate the lungs and contribute to long-term health issues, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Working with asbestos is hazardous and can have serious health consequences. Employers can and should take steps to improve the safety of workers who encounter asbestos on the job by limiting exposure.
In the past, people used asbestos to construct homes, vehicles and consumer products. Although government regulations now restrict its use, people who work on older buildings and homes might come into contact with asbestos. Furthermore, some factory and manufacturing workers can experience asbestos exposure.
Employers should educate workers about the risks of asbestos. Exposure to asbestos may result in wheezing, breathing difficulties and chest pains. Symptoms can include coughing up blood, swelling and difficulty swallowing. Over time, regular asbestos exposure can contribute to asbestosis, mesothelioma and cancer.
Safety regulations require employers to take action to protect workers from the negative health effects of asbestos. For example, workplaces should monitor the air for asbestos and record the data measured. Furthermore, businesses should provide adequate protective gear for workers who must interact with asbestos in any way. Respirators, safety glasses and disposable clothing can limit exposure and help prevent contamination. In areas with asbestos, employers should prohibit eating, drinking and smoking. Furthermore, HEPA vacuums and wet cleaning techniques can help employees more safely dispose of asbestos. Finally, companies should provide medical examinations for all employees who handle asbestos directly.
Workers deserve to have safe conditions and protection from hazards. Employers should follow regulations and use the appropriate equipment to help prevent the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.