Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil. Asbestos has been used in numerous building construction materials because of its fiber strength and heat resistance. It can be found in building materials such as roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Here’s some information about asbestos safety.
Asbestos is so dangerous to humans because the fibers cannot be seen by the naked eye, which can put workers at serious risk of exposure. OSHA has created regulations to protect the worker from the hazards surrounded by Asbestos.
What kinds of hazards are associated with Asbestos? The fibers from asbestos are released into the air during actions that disturb the asbestos containing materials. The fibers can then be inhaled and trapped in the lungs. And if Asbestos fibers are swallowed, they can become embedded into the digestive tract as well. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and can cause chronic lung disease as well as lung and other cancers. These symptoms can take years to develop after the initial exposure.
Where is the hazard? Most materials are presumed to contain asbestos if installed before 1981. Examples of these materials include:
- Roofing and siding tiles
- Floor tiles
- Plaster, cement, putties and caulk
- Pipe wrapping
- Automobile brake linings and clutch pads
OSHA has three standards that protects workers from the hazards of asbestos:
- 29 CFR 1910.1001 for General Industry
29 CFR 1926.1101 for Construction
- 29 CFR 1915.1001 for Shipyards
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