Asbestos Safety


Know the Risks of Asbestos

Some workplace hazards have an immediate effect, causing an injury or illness you can’t miss. Others, such as asbestos, take many years to do their damage.

When asbestos or asbestos-containing products break apart, they release tiny fibers that can be breathed in. These fibers lodge in the lung where they set off serious illness.

Asbestosis is a chronic respiratory condition. The inhaled fibers irritate the lung tissues and cause scarring. Symptoms include shortness of breath and a crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling. The disease is disabling and usually fatal.

Lung cancer is the cause of most deaths from asbestos exposure. Mining, milling, manufacturing and use of asbestos and asbestos products puts the worker at risk. Symptoms include a cough, change in breathing and shortness of breath. Smoking in combination with asbestos exposure increases risk of lung cancer.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, usually occurring in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest or abdomen. It is almost always linked to asbestos exposure. At risk are miners and textile workers.

To protect yourself from exposure, you need to know where asbestos is likely to be found in the facility. Head warning signs and markings. If in doubt, ask your supervisor or EHS professional before attempting to replace a fallen ceiling tile or crumbled insulation. If something is identified as asbestos in the facility and you see some damage to it, report it immediately.


*Tool Box Talk based on GC submitted by Chris DiPietro – PES