OSHA stats show that daily up to 1.3 million people in the U.S are exposed to asbestos at work. There are a number of health risks that are linked to asbestos exposure including asbestos-related diseases as mesothelioma and asbestosis. While it’s difficult to get rid of all the asbestos found in workplaces, employers can provide on-the-job protection to employees. This article will discuss employee rights to protections from asbestos exposure.
Working around large amounts of asbestos can be a cause for concern of asbestos exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other agencies are tasked with carefully regulating and monitoring work asbestos exposure. They have even set asbestos exposure limits for different kind of industries. Therefore, if your job involves asbestos exposure your employer is required to take certain steps to protect you and others.
Asbestos Exposure Protections
Depending on the industry and job you do, you may be entitled to receive the following asbestos exposure protections:
- Training – one key aspect of protecting employees is to train them on how to work with and around asbestos
- Ventilation – asbestos-related diseases are a result of swallowing or inhaling asbestos fibres. Therefore, one important way of reducing the risk of swallowing or inhaling such fibres is by having properly ventilated workspaces
- Monitoring asbestos exposure levels – there is machinery that can be used to monitor the asbestos exposure levels at a specific work site. This is especially so for workers that are involved in removing asbestos containing materials
- Providing warnings – the employer must provide warning signs and instructions in areas where asbestos-related work is being carried out
- Protective person equipment (PPE) – the employer must provide appropriate protective clothing for employees. This may include coveralls, gloves, foot coverings, face shields and goggles. Other equipment that may be used may include respirators
- Measures may be in place for post-exposure precautions these may include taking showers to reduce take-home exposure
- Routine medical exams may be a feature for certain workers who are exposed to high levels of asbestos
Take the time to learn more on asbestos in the workplace and the OSHA standards and protections for workers.