Asbestos is a natural fibrous material that can have devastating effects on workers if proper precautions aren’t taken. Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of diseases, including asbestosis, a chronic lung disease resulting from prolonged exposure to asbestos dust; lung cancer and other cancers; and mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer than affects the lining of the lungs or abdominal cavity.
Asbestos can still be found on some worksites, particularly construction sites. According to OSHA, some materials, such as roofing and siding shingles, cement, caulk and plaster, industrial pipe wrapping, and heat-resistant textiles, are presumed to contain asbestos if installed before 1981.
Usually it takes anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop symptoms after asbestos exposure. From there, the disease progresses rapidly, with most patients dying an extremely painful deal in less than two years.
To help protect workers from exposure to asbestos, supervisors should implement an effective asbestos management program that includes:
A list of all asbestos-containing materials in your workplace
Clear identification of materials that contain asbestos
A qualified person administering a risk assessment of the potential for exposure to any of the asbestos-containing materials in your workplace, and creating safe working procedures if needed
An in-place control plan, and knowledge of how to implement it if a worker is exposed to asbestos material
Concise and complete records of your company’s asbestos management program
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma as a result, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation today.
Source: Safety + Health Magazine – The National Safety Council