Asbestos is a mineral that is made up of soft fibers. These fibers are resistant to heat, chemical corrosion, and electrical insulation . With such a variety of uses, it’s easy to understand why it is considered useful. However, there is a possibility that extensive exposure to asbestos can be extremely harmful to humans.
While asbestos is known to be a great insulator , exposure to it can lead to the development of specific types of cancer. This is known as mesothelioma & asbestosis. This is not the only type of cancer caused by the exposure. Let’s look at the various occupations that have a high risk of being exposed to asbestos.
A lot of older construction material, such as the roofing and flooring elements, still contain huge amounts of asbestos. Since construction workers have direct contact with such elements, it proves to be a higher risk for them as they can be exposed to asbestos on a regular basis where asbestos surveys and registers are either not available for the building or simply not consulted. As well as that, workers that deal directly with demolition and renovations are more likely to be exposed to asbestos than others where due diligence hasn’t been carried out.
Pipes, tanks, ducts, and other elements can be made from asbestos. While not all of these components are made with this material, many are. Therefore, plumbers, electricians, and any other home improvement workers have higher risks of being exposed to this element than most other occupations.
Firemen or any other emergence service that works around areas that have asbestos can become exposed. This is especially true in the case of firefighters. For instance, if a building is mainly made using asbestos and it is on fire, then the asbestos particles would be in the air.
Industrial Workers/Factory Workers
By industrial or factory worker, we mean any person that works as mechanics, chemical workers, trade laborers, machine operators, and more. For clarity, these workers are not innately exposed to asbestos, but it is important to ensure that if there is any disturbance to asbestos this then has the potential to provide risk to the workers.
Teachers and students that work and study in buildings built before the year 2000 can contain asbestos. Due to UK legislation Asbestos containing materials within UK schools are managed. The only time the public could become exposed is when there are disturbances made directly to the asbestos material.
Similarly to other workers hospital staff and patients inherently occupy older buildings. The HSE has put many regulations in place to ensure effective management of asbestos. Again, as long as there is no direct disturbance to the asbestos materials the regularly management protocols and register updates should be enforced.