Dos and Don'ts for Identifying and Managing Asbestos in the Workplace
Asbestos is a hazardous material that was widely used in construction materials in the past. It is a health hazard, and whether you are an employee or employer, it is important for you to be aware of the dangers associated with it. If you are concerned that your building may have asbestos, it is essential to take the correct measures to protect yourself and other occupants. Here are some dos and don'ts that you should adhere to when dealing with asbestos to ensure your safety.
Don't dismiss your suspicions
If you suspect that there is asbestos in your building, you should not dismiss your assumptions without getting assurance from an asbestos inspector. Before asbestos was banned for use in construction materials, so many builders incorporated it in their structures. Any building that was constructed before the ban may contain the material and pose serious health hazards to its occupants. If you see something suspicious or believe that the structure may contain asbestos, it is important to get other people involved so that you can address it before it poses a health risk in your workplace.
Don't handle it yourself
Asbestos requires careful handling to ensure that its fibers don't get released into the air. When inhaled, they can cause severe respiratory complications. It is critical that you don't try to handle asbestos by yourself as you may endanger your life and that of other occupants of the building. Asbestos remediation requires the use of special equipment and techniques to contain it within the affected area and prevent its fibers from spreading. Don't disturb the construction materials around the areas that you suspect have asbestos as you could release its fibers into the air and inhale them.
Do inform the property owner
Once you suspect that your building may have asbestos, you should inform the owner, landlord, property agent, or other party that's in charge of managing the property. It is the duty of the property owner to ensure the safety of the building occupants and deal with any potential asbestos exposure. Contact the person in charge of the property and inform them of your concerns so that they can call a professional inspector to verify the assumptions.
Do arrange for inspection and remediation
If you are the property owner, you should take immediate measures to ensure that the occupants of the building aren't exposed to the hazardous fibers. Contact an asbestos inspector who will take samples of the materials and test them in a laboratory. If asbestos is present, the professionals will carry out asbestos remediation. The affected areas should be contained until the material is removed or a management plan is set up to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure.