Asbestos as a silent threat to factory workers

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Asbestos, mesothelioma |

Asbestos, once hailed as a miracle material, has a long history of use in various industries, including manufacturing. Its heat resistance, insulation properties and affordability made it a popular choice for several applications.

However, this seemingly versatile material harbors a hidden danger that poses significant health risks to factory employees.

A historical perspective

Historically, asbestos found its way into manufacturing plants as a component in a variety of products. It was common in insulation, gaskets, brake linings and even protective clothing. The use of asbestos dropped dramatically starting in the early 1970s.

The hidden health risks

While asbestos offered numerous benefits in manufacturing, it came at a great cost to the health of factory workers. The microscopic asbestos fibers, once released into the air, posed a severe health risk. Inhalation of these fibers could lead to various life-threatening diseases.

Asbestos-related illnesses

Prolonged exposure to asbestos in manufacturing can result in asbestosis, a chronic lung disease. It causes scarring of lung tissues, making it increasingly difficult for affected individuals to breathe.

Factory workers exposed to asbestos also face an elevated risk of lung cancer. The carcinogenic properties of asbestos fibers can lead to cancerous tumors in the lungs.

Perhaps the most devastating consequence of asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. This rare and aggressive cancer primarily affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Factory employees who encountered asbestos on a daily basis are at higher risk.

Occupational safety measures

Increased awareness of the hazards of asbestos has led to stricter regulations and safety measures in many manufacturing plants. For example, employers should provide comprehensive training to factory workers about asbestos risks and safety protocols.

Factories should also have adequate ventilation systems to help control the dispersion of asbestos fibers. This reduces the risk of exposure. Workers handling asbestos-containing materials should wear appropriate protective clothing and masks to minimize contact with airborne fibers.

Employers should also conduct regular health check-ups for employees with potential asbestos exposure history. Unfortunately, employers do not always follow the above requirements.