Asbestos refers to silicate materials that are fibrous in texture and which can be found naturally. While it does have some beneficial uses (such as thermal insulation and reinforcement due to its high tensile strength) it can be harmful on contact.
Since this material is fibrous, it gets airborne very easily if it is dislodged. Those fibers are small enough to be inhaled and can damage the lungs over a long period of time. Workers who work near or around asbestos for instance can develop 2 types of cancer over long exposure and which can prove fatal.
The procedures implemented to remove this harmful substance depend on its condition and the chances of it being disturbed or dislodged. Here are some rules that can ensure safe removal:
- Remove asbestos products only if it is absolutely necessary
- Avoid disturbing asbestos to prevent it from getting airborne
- Ensure that the harmful material is only handled by experienced and qualified personnel
- Always make sure that asbestos removal us done in a controlled environment to prevent cross contamination.
Workers who are likely to disturb asbestos in their line of work need to be trained on how to handle exposure via appropriate awareness courses. In addition, if asbestos is present and is detected on a worksite, all operations in the area should be shut down till it is safely removed.
Appropriate decontamination procedures should be implemented to prevent contamination and exposure. Furthermore, all asbestos treatment procedures should be done in accordance with HSE regulations.
All employers and site supervisors have a duty of care when it comes to ensuring that workers remain safe from such threats on a site. This includes informing them and contractors of the potential hazards before operations commence. Additionally, an asbestos survey should be conducted yearly to ensure that the products that contain asbestos and conditions associated with it are managed safely.
An asbestos management program can go a long way in monitoring work conditions and determining the presence of this harmful material. This includes monitoring changes of use within a site. Plus, anyone who is assigned to work in an area where this material is present should be informed beforehand.
All emergency procedures involving asbestos should be done in a controlled environment and should include the management of its release in a work site. Additional steps should include:
- Warn personnel who are affected
- Evacuate everyone from the area who is not needed for the asbestos release
- Determine the reason for the uncontrolled release
- Regain control of the situation before anyone else is affected
- Ensure anyone present in the contaminated area is wearing personal protective equipment
- Leave the area that is affected immediately
- Reduce the spread of the harmful substance to reduce decontamination
- Clear up all of the dust and debris
- Decontaminate workers who have been exposed to asbestos
Decontaminate rags, clothing and PPE or dispose of them as contaminated waste
HAZWOPER 40 Hour Plus GHS Hazardous Communication
Whether you are a site owner, supervisor or worker, you need to be aware of the dangers of asbestos and other harmful materials in a hazardous work environment. 360Training.com’s HAZWOPER 40 Hour Plus GHS Hazardous Communication training program has over 40 hours of information based on OSHA’s hazard emergency response standards.
The course is meant for site workers who are involved in the removal and treatment of hazardous waste which can compromise their health. The course has more than 20 sections on common hazards, their removal process and emergency communication that is necessary during it.
Some of the objectives of the course include:
- Site characterization and what it entails
- The chemical hazards present in a work environment
- Understanding OSHA regulations pertaining to workplace hazards
- The dangers present in a toxic waste site
- How to treat different types of chemical exposures.
- Understanding the consequences of different types of reactive materials and corrosive elements.
Once the course is completed, students can download their completion certificate from the website. This document is accepted by OSHA as proof of completion. Sign up for the course today and remain safe on a hazardous worksite.