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Asbestos Protection Safety Moment

Contributor: Safesite Jurisdiction: OSHA


Asbestos exposure is common in the construction industry. OSHA recommends strict guidelines to limit exposure. This meeting can be used to review the dangers of asbestos by safety managers and personn...

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Asbestos Protection Safety Moment

1. An estimates 1.3 million employees in contruction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry.

2. Asbestos is a widely used, mineral-based material that is resistant to heat and corrosive chemicals. Asbestos usually appears as a whitish, fibrous material which may release fibers from coarse to silky. These airborne fibers may be too small to see with the naked eye.

3. Asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis (scarring of the lungs resulting in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death), cancer of the lung , esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum.

4. OSHA has established very strict regulations covering asbestos exposure. This standard sets a maximum exposure limit and includes provision for engineering controls and respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams.

5. Workplace exposure to asbestos must be limited to 0.2 fibers per cubic centimeter of air, averaged over an eight-hour work shift. The short-term or excurison limit is one fiber per cubic centimeter of air averaged over a sampling period of 30 minutes. In areas where the exposure limits for asbestos exceed the 8-hour or 30 minute values, a regulated area must be established. Only authorized persons wearing appropriate clothing and respirators can enter a regualted area. In regualted areas, eating, smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco or gum and applying cosmetics are prohibited.

6. Warning signs must displayed at each regulated area and must be posted at all approaches to regulated areas.

7. For any employee exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos exceeding the permissible exposure limit (PEL), the employer must provide and require the use of protection clothing. This includes coveralls or full-body clothing, head coverings, goves, and foot coverings. If the possibility of eye irritation exists, face shield, vented goggles or other appropriate equipment must be provided and worn. The level of exposure will determine what type of respirators is to be used.

8. Caution labels must be placed on all raw materials, mixtures, scrap, waste, debris and other products containing asbestos fibers.

9. Construction work involving asbestos is done by workers specifically trained on how to work around asbestos safely. The main things we have to remember is that asbestos may be present on the job and we need to stay away from it, unless we have been trained to work with it and all engineering controls, monitoring devices and perosnal protective devices are in place.

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