While this blog often focuses on the impact asbestos exposure has on the owners and residents of a property, it’s also important to understand how it affects those who come in direct contact with it from job to job, worksite to worksite. Today we’re looking at the professions that are most at risk, looking specifically at the construction industry where the risk of asbestos exposure is at its highest.
Understanding the Risks Posed to Contractors
While asbestos exposure can affect any workforce, from sick building syndrome for office staff to other specialized workers (see below), those who are most at risk are construction worker contractors who work on existing buildings in one of two major types of projects:
Building Remodeling Contractors
Whether a home or an office, remodeling often requires removal of materials through material removal, small-scale demolition, and hauling. As we talk about in our blog, Finding Hazardous Building Materials While Renovating, asbestos that was safely behind layers or even encapsulated can be revealed and made into airborne dust while renovating, even with something as simple as removing a popcorn ceiling.
Building Demolition Contractors
Similarly, demolition workers can encounter asbestos during setup and the demolition process, as well as exposing neighbors to asbestos dues as well. This is why it’s vital to get a building inspected by someone with AHERA accreditation (see this blog for more details on the demolition inspection process), otherwise during destruction any friable asbestos will contaminate the site.
Other Workforces at Risk from Asbestos Exposure
Other professionals can be exposed to asbestos in their day-to-day work, from the mundane to first responders. A few examples below:
- Firefighters: Without proper respiratory gear, firefighters can be exposed to asbestos during entry or building collapse due to fire.
- Upholstery Workers: When it comes to re-upholsterers, many older pieces of furniture can contain asbestos textiles, a common fireproofing measure.
- Custodial Staff: In older buildings such as schools and public infrastructure, custodial and maintenance staff are more likely to come into contact and disturb asbestos.
It’s important to make sure your staff is safe, especially in an already higher-risk job in the construction industry. There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Make sure the property is inspected, and if asbestos is found it is abated by trained professionals. At Fiber Control, Inc., we can provide inspections and asbestos remediation for all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us today to get started.