How to Deal with Asbestos Exposure in Your Workplace: Advice for Managers

{Part two of a three-part series}

Industrial mangers are faced with hundreds of responsibilities each day. Ensuring worker safety should be at the top of their priority list – especially when it comes to asbestos.

Do you work in management at a construction site or industrial occupation? Here’s what you can do to promote asbestos safety:

Conduct daily or periodic monitoring. Unless a manager can demonstrate that asbestos exposure at the worksite will remain below the permissible limit, they are required to perform daily monitoring for worksites where asbestos-containing materials are directly involved. Managers must perform periodic monitoring (at intervals determined by state legislature) for workers who perform other industrial operations that pose a risk for asbestos exposure.

Create controlled zones. Regulated areas must be created and thoroughly enforced wherever asbestos work is performed. Mangers must prohibit workers from entering without appropriate licensure or respiratory protection. Managers must also keep workers from doing any of the following within a controlled zone:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Chewing gum
  • Applying cosmetics

These areas must be clearly labeled as regulated areas.

Provide the required protective equipment and safety training. Employers are required to provide and enforce the use of respirators, coveralls, head and foot coverings and gloves when asbestos work is performed. OSHA standard CFR 1910.134 can be used to determine which sort of gear is necessary. This protective gear can only be given to workers who have undergone respirator training.

Additionally, employers must enroll workers who handle asbestos in the required asbestos licensure classes (and refresher courses) through an accredited training company. Check your local laws for information about industrial asbestos training.

Provide appropriate medical examinations. Managers at construction sites and shipyards must provide medical examinations for workers who spend 30 days or more each year with Class I, II, or III asbestos work. Managers at any other site are required to provide medical examinations to all workers who are exposed to asbestos above the PEL.

Keep thorough records. In the event of legal action, managers must be able to provide records of asbestos monitoring, employee medical records and licensure training records. Keep records of exposure monitoring and physician’s evaluations for each employee for at least 30 years. Keep training records for at least one year. 

This Intelex Guest Blog is part two of a three-part series. Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.

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