Construction workers may face asbestos threats

Construction is a dangerous industry. So many of the jobs in construction are extremely physical, and individuals sometimes work with heavy equipment. The environment of a construction zone can also pose a threat to workers. Even well-known threats, like asbestos, still expose workers to danger and persist in these types of workplaces despite widespread knowledge of the dangers. Construction managers have a duty to ensure their workers are as safe as possible at all times, including the limiting of exposure to this dangerous material.

State and federal laws and industry guidelines exist for the safe monitoring and removal of asbestos. Many individuals have suffered from the disease caused by asbestos, and these requirements came about in an effort to reduce levels of the disease.

The dangers of asbestos

Asbestos was a popular construction material in the past before the negative health effects became apparent. The mineral becomes dangerous when it is disturbed, broken up and becomes airborne. The risk of exposure is greatest for workers who rehabilitate or demolish older homes, since the material is likely to be in the air.

Mesothelioma statistics

Asbestos exposure causes the disease mesothelioma. It is a preventable lung disease that leads to fatal cancer. The illness affects the lining of the lungs. In the United States, experts estimate that 1.3 million workers are exposed to significant amounts of asbestos, whether in construction, demolition or production of the material. This on-the-job exposure leads to 2,500 deaths per year. According to people who study the disease, 300 new cases are diagnosed every year as well.

Mesothelioma is a slow disease. People in their 70s develop diagnosable symptoms of the disease more often than younger people. The illness can take decades, 20 to 50 years even, to develop.

Managing risk

Workers can manage their risk by identifying asbestos in buildings. Asbestos was prominent in construction until the 1970s. It appears in flooring, shingles, decoration, sound-proofing, roofing and many more applications. Current policy limits its use but does not forbid it.

To avoid asbestos exposure, workers should use protective equipment. Respirators designed to prevent inhalation of the substance are essential to limit asbestos lung exposure. Those exposed to asbestos may wish to monitor their lung health with a physician.

It is tragic to learn that a common disease is preventable, and even more horrifying to realize that your everyday tasks at work can harm you or make you sick. There are resources readily available to those who are seeking justice after suffering this preventable illness that resulted due to some form of negligence.

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