Asbestos is a dangerous and deadly material which is why it’s so important for those who may be at risk of being exposed to it to protect themselves.
There are many ways to reduce one’s exposure to asbestos and a number of precautions that can be put in place to prevent any risk associated with it.
Aside from completing one of our online asbestos training courses, to ensure that you understand the dangers of asbestos and are aware of your responsibilities in protecting yourself and others, there is another important method of protection – Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.
The main risk for workers when exposed to asbestos is inhalation of the airborne fibres which can become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. While they can be removed, some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive system which can then lead to health issues such as mesothelioma.
To restrict access of any airborne particles into your lungs, respirators and dust masks should be worn when working with or around this material. They are worn over the mouth and nose and are able to filter out noxious substances making them the most effective form of PPE when it comes to the hazard of asbestos.
You should also wear eye protection when working with asbestos to prevent the small particles from entering your eyes and causing potential health issues such as eye irritation.
Much like any small airborne fibres and dust particles that might be present when working, they can become lodged in the soft tissues of your eyes and cause irritation and though this may not be the biggest risk associated with asbestos, it is still important to protect yourself from this potential health hazard.
Safety goggles are the best way to protect your eyes as they completely restrict any access and enable you to carry out your work comfortably and safely.
When you disturb asbestos and the fibres are released into the air, they will cling to your skin, hair and clothing if you are not wearing the appropriate PPE. This would mean that the particles get carried around with you, even after you have finished working, and could pose a risk if not disposed off or washed immediately.
This is why it’s necessary to wear disposable coveralls which cover you from head to toe when working with asbestos.
By wearing this form of PPE, which you dispose of every time you finish work, then you will drastically reduce the chances of any lingering asbestos particles from following you home because they won’t be stuck to your clothes.
Another safety measure that will protect you against the dangers of asbestos is good personal hygiene.
You should wash your hands every time you finish working, this includes before going to eat or drink or use the toilet, to remove any asbestos fibres that are clinging to your skin/hands and, therefore, being carried around by you.
But hand-washing should be an additional precautionary measure as you must wear hand protection when working with asbestos to greatly reduce the chances of asbestos from reaching your skin.
Disposable gloves will protect your hands and, as long as you are careful not to touch your face whilst you are wearing them, then you will be adequately protected. Much like coveralls, you must remember to dispose of them every time you take them off and replace them with a new pair on a regular basis.