An estimated 1.3 million workers face significant workplace asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a widely used toxic mineral that is extremely dangerous when inhaled. Employees that install, manufacture, or repair asbestos containing materials or equipment face the greatest risk for workplace asbestos exposure risk.

Workplace asbestos exposure can cause several fatal diseases including:

  • Mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the protective lining surrounding the lungs)
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal, stomach, colon, and rectum cancer

Occupations at risk for Workplace Asbestos Exposure

The following occupational environments place workers at a high risk for workplace asbestos exposure risk:

One study concluded that workers in the insulation industry are 92 times more likely to become ill than laborers in other occupations.

Preventing Workplace Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) established laws and regulations to protect laborers from workplace asbestos exposure. The new rules and regulations include:

Maximum Workplace Asbestos Exposure Rules: Workplace asbestos exposure must be limited to 0.2 fibers per cubic centimeter averaged over an eight hour workday. Workplace asbestos exposure must also be limited to one fiber per cubic centimeter in a 30 minute time frame.

Workplace Asbestos Exposure Monitoring: Employers must do initial monitoring for workers exposed to asbestos levels above 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter. Subsequent monitoring must take place every six months. Additionally, construction employers must monitor exposed workers daily until exposure drops below 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter.

Protective Equipment: Employers must provide workers facing workplace asbestos exposure with protective clothing (full-body clothing, head coverings, gloves, etc.) and respiratory equipment.

Hygiene Facilities: Employers must provide workers facing workplace asbestos exposure with a clean changing room with two lockers (one for asbestos clothing and one for clean street clothes) and showers to clean off lingering asbestos fibers.

Health Exams: Medical exams must take place before workers can be subjected to workplace asbestos exposure. Additional check-ups are required annually and upon employment termination.

Injured by Workplace Asbestos Exposure?

If you or a loved one has been injured by workplace asbestos exposure, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation. We can provide more information, an assessment of your legal rights and support. 

Published November 17, 2011 by