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asbestos Professionals with Higher than Average Risk for Exposure to Asbestos

Angie Cole

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The risk of being exposed to asbestos isn’t just real for those whose jobs focus on asbestos abatement, it’s also real for a number of other professions. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has reported that over the past century, workers from more than 75 different trades have been actively exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos. Though the use of this dangerous substance has been considerably limited (even banned) since 1990, there are still those today whose symptoms from past exposures only recently came to light. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer - these are just some of the known diseases directly caused by asbestos exposure.

Today, these trades below tend to be presented with a higher than average risk for exposure to asbestos, more than other lines of work:

Construction workers

Asbestos training is especially necessary for those working in the construction industry, as the substance can be found in a huge number of products and materials, as well as locations, that these workers encounter on a daily basis. The problem lies in the fact that a majority of construction workers simply don’t have the advanced training and knowledge necessary in order to properly address asbestos exposure and related concerns.

Electricians

In the scope of their job, electricians often have to work through old asbestos-containing materials and parts just to ensure that their clients have safe electrical systems that are in compliance with safety regulations. This causes them to often (and mostly unknowingly) get severely exposed to and affected by asbestos fibers, though it may not show until a few years to a couple of decades later.

HVAC repair technicians

Modern heating and ventilation systems and components are already largely asbestos-free, however, HVAC repair personnel at times still have to work in old and tight spaces, which are most likely sources of asbestos. When disturbed, a highly toxic level of asbestos fibers could be released, putting the technician at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases that would only become apparent 20 to 50 years after.

Firefighters

There are often instances when asbestos-packed buildings literally fall down all around our fire-fighting heroes. Because of the heat from the fire, asbestos fibers may be rapidly released into the air, where they can be inhaled by the firefighters working in the area. While firefighters do wear the appropriate protective gear when working to put out fires, they don’t always wear respirators.

Teachers

This may come as a surprise, however, it makes perfect sense when you factor in the number of aging school buildings all across the United States. Many school buildings being utilized today were built around the time when the use of asbestos was prevalent, putting teachers at risk of exposure to asbestos fibers even in the simple act of using normal facilities within the school.

Aside from these trades, there are quite a number of others that puts its workers at a higher than normal risk for asbestos exposure. Often, this can be attributed to the lack of training regarding proper handling of these types of substances. Business owners are recommended to pair up with a reputable safety training organization that can provide necessary training on asbestos safety, as well as HAZWOPER training for those whose workers are involved in hazardous waste cleanup and containment.

Visit theasbestosinstitute.com for more details on safety training.


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