Posted on: February 1, 2024
Asbestos Safety: Protecting Lives, the Environment, and Your Career
Asbestos can be found in everything from paint to insulation, even some home appliances. However, inhaling asbestos fibers and long-term exposure can lead to life-threatening illnesses.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the long- and short-term asbestos exposure and the role that online safety training plays in keeping you and your employees safe and how it can help improve your career.
Asbestos is hazardous due to its microscopically thin fibers. These fibers are so small they can penetrate the lungs and cause serious illnesses. Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States require Asbestos Awareness training. It is obvious to see why when we take into account these rather alarming statistics about asbestos:
- Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths worldwide
- Over 90,000 individuals die each year as a result of asbestos-related diseases around the world
- Globally, an estimated 125 million people are at risk of occupational asbestos exposure
Asbestos awareness training teaches individuals about asbestos exposure and health risks, educating them on how to protect themselves when in danger.
Asbestos is a type of naturally occurring mineral fiber. Because of its resistance to fire and chemicals, asbestos is used in a variety of products. However, it contributes to the annual death of 39,000 Americans. Despite its industrial value, asbestos is a health hazard.
Asbestos quickly breaks down when handled, releasing dangerous fibers into the air. Short-term asbestos exposure poses minor health risks. However, long-term asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing diseases such as:
- Mesothelioma - Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, affects the abdominal cavity and lungs. It causes chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, fever, muscle weakness, and exhaustion, with a diagnosis rate of around 3,000 annually.
- Asbestosis - Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition causing lung tissue damage and breathlessness. Symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, and clubbing of fingers and toes. Patients with asbestosis are more likely to develop mesothelioma.
- Lung cancer - Lung cancer develops within the lung, while mesothelioma affects the lungs' lining. Smoking and other environmental factors are the most common causes of lung cancer. However, asbestos exposure is also a cause. Smokers with a history of asbestos exposure are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Asbestos-related diseases have a latency period, ranging from 10 to 40 years, between inhalation and illness symptoms. During this period, people don't feel ill, but make no mistake, they are very sick.
Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing asbestos diseases, with treatment being difficult and most of the diseases incurable. The majority of asbestos diseases can only be prevented.
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. This is particularly concerning for those working in asbestos-exposed environments, as asbestos’ presence cannot always be detected. You won't sneeze or cough when around asbestos. It won't irritate your skin or throat. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or unsafely removed, this releases asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers are too small to be felt, tasted, or seen.
Employers are required to protect workers from exposure by establishing regulated zones, restricting work practices, and adopting safety measures. They must provide personal protective equipment to all exposed employees. If regulatory limits and exposure times are exceeded, workers must be medically monitored.
Asbestos Safety training provides an opportunity for professional development as well as safety. Asbestos awareness training increases clientele employee retention and ensures the safety and well-being of your staff. If you are looking to further your career, having knowledge about asbestos management and safety is a useful asset that can lead to specialization.
OSHA.com provides a comprehensive Asbestos Safety training course that covers health effects and detection methods. Our Hazards of Asbestos in the Workplace training teaches precautions for personal and staff protection, including acceptable work practices, emergency procedures, and PPE. We also offer Legal Liabilities Training for asbestos inspectors. Head to our website to enroll today!