Asbestos is a substance often found in buildings built before the 2000s. Once considered a boon, its terrifying effects have since been exposed, and it has now been discontinued in construction. Those exposed to asbestos fibers often suffered early and even horrifying deaths. Unfortunately, it continues to exist in older buildings as well as some products even today. While usually safe, it can be incredibly harmful when disturbed. Therefore, if you are involved in working with asbestos, employ all the necessary precautions and save yourself some grief.
Before beginning any work, if you suspect the site may involve asbestos, call on experts to verify this. If it is present, you must employ the stipulated safety precautions to prevent unnecessary risks.
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Working With Asbestos:
Those working in close quarters with asbestos are at the highest risk. So if you are one of them, be sure you use your safety equipment whenever within this work space. One of the leading dangers of asbestos is through breathing in its tiny fibers. This can cause mesothelioma (a kind of cancer) or asbestosis. Both of these are fatal diseases almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. As a result, the face mask must be worn properly to prevent inhaling the fibers. Moreover, since you are dealing with a sensitive substance you must also avoid waste build-up and double bag the waste in order to prevent any spillage. This must then be disposed of properly, so as to steer clear of putting other people at risk.
You must also remember to wash frequently. Especially during breaks and before heading home at the end of the day. This will keep both you and everyone around you safe.
Once you begin your work, always remember to stay away from methods which are likely to create a lot of dust. This means that power tools should be avoided at all costs. Moreover, sweeping the dust and debris is another strict no. Instead, vacuum these up using an Type-H vacuum cleaner or even a simple wet cloth. This will avoid the spread of debris by wind or other means.
Since these can get attached to your work clothes, never take these home with you. By doing so, you will be putting yourself and your family at risk long after finishing work. Inhaling asbestos can have grave consequences, hence the rules and regulations must be strictly followed. Therefore, even if the mask used is marked ‘reusable’- just don’t. Clothes worn during work must never be worn again either. Instead, adhere to the strict rules of disposal when working with objects which have been exposed to asbestos.
Judging by the seriousness of these precautions, it goes without saying that smoking, eating or even drinking in such a work area is impermissible. After all, not only do these activities expose your mouth to the debris that may be present, but these can also be attached to your food and thereby ingested.
Therefore, before beginning work in such an environment, be aware that you must be properly trained in all the dangers and safety protocols that need to be followed. Only then will you be fully ready to tackle your work head on.
If these strict precautions appear a little excessive, remember that the substance you are dealing with is just that dangerous. 5000 people die each year due to lack of proper precautions. So employ the “do”s and “don’t”s, and prevent yourself from becoming just another statistic!