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Asbestos- a hidden killer in the construction industry

Safety Solutions at Work is proud to feature the following guest article from the Mesothelioma Center. You can learn more about their centre by checking out Asbestos.com

Need information to pass along to your construction contractors? Be sure to read our article discussing how asbestos can affect construction workers!

Thanks to the popularity of energy efficiency upgrades and environmentally friendly home overhauls, construction workers are handling an ever-increasing number of home renovation requests. Often, multi-worker construction teams tackle the same project, providing high-quality upgrades in a short amount of time. However, workers must mindfully allocate time to safety addressing asbestos hazards. If mishandled, asbestos products can lead to a number of serious diseases including the most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma cancer.

Construction workers have some of the highest risks for asbestos-related diseases, thanks to the frequency with which they handle asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos is present in many of the insulating, flooring and roofing products that construction workers renovate on a daily basis.

Workers in many different construction sectors may encounter asbestos. Some of the riskiest construction industries include:

  • Demolition
  • Plumbing
  • Pipefitting
  • Roofing
  • Carpeting

These industrial sectors have high rates of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. However, any construction worker who handles older construction materials may have an elevated risk of contracting these diseases.

How Construction Workers can Reduce their Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Construction workers are not always required to undergo asbestos training. However, abatement professionals and workers who may encounter asbestos during their work must complete asbestos licensure courses outlining methods of safe handling and disposal. Workers should complete these classes before beginning any asbestos work, and they must remember to renew their certifications before they expire.

Until asbestos inspections confirm otherwise, construction workers should assume that materials installed before the 1980s contain the fibers. These fibers can easily enter the air if the materials are cracking, crumbling or otherwise in poor condition. Additionally, construction work such as grinding, sawing or cutting can release asbestos fibers into the breathing space. Workers must take special precautions – such as using wet removal methods – when handling these products.

Although wet removal methods can help reduce the likelihood that asbestos enters the air during renovation, construction workers should still wear protective gear when working in older homes. Supervisors must provide respirators, face masks and other safety equipment when construction workers head to jobsites where asbestos is present.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.

 

Posted on: March 18th, 2013 by Victoria Comments

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