In any construction project, safety should be a priority for any contractor or person in charge of the project. This involves identifying all elements of risk in a project and taking the right measures to reduce the risk of arm and injury to anyone involved. Asbestos is a common risk element, especially during renovation of old buildings and site excavation. It requires specialised handling to minimise health risks to the workers and the occupants of the projects. If you have no clue on the dangers of asbestos in construction or demolition, these commonly asked questions will enlighten you:
What Building Products are Likely to Contain Asbestos?
Asbestos was popular in the years before the 90s. Contractors used it to strengthen structures and add other desirable qualities such as fire resistance. In order to achieve this, various materials were laced with asbestos to bring in the desired qualities. They include roofing shingles, eaves, thermal board panels, flue pipes, water pipes, wall cladding, floor backing, tile backing and textured paint on various surfaces. All these products pose a risk of exposure to asbestos whenever you encounter them.
What are the Various Forms of Asbestos?
Asbestos occurs in two significant forms, friable and non-friable asbestos. Friable asbestos refers to asbestos occurring in powdered form or in materials that you can pulverise with your hands. It poses the highest risk because anything you touch easily turns into inhalable dust, putting you at risk of exposure. On the other hand, non-friable asbestos is firmly engraved into structures and construction products. The risk of exposure arises from destruction of the materials during demolition and extreme makeovers.
What are the Risk Factors for Exposure?
Exposure to asbestos is not good for your health. It elevates the risk of developing certain conditions such as ovarian cancer, asbestosis, benign pleural diseases, clubbed fingers and laryngeal cancer. A high level of exposure to asbestos increases the chances suffering from one or more of the diseases mentioned here. The number of fibres you take in and the frequency of the inhalation determine the risk level of developing an asbestos –related infection.
What Steps Can You Take to Reduce Your Exposure?
- If you live in an old structure built with asbestos-containing materials, keep the structure in good condition at all times. Painting and coating the surfaces is a reliable way of reducing exposure.
- Arrange for specialist removal services – bring in a specialist to examine the structure, identify the asbestos prone areas and get rid of it in safe manner. This includes both removal and disposal of the asbestos.