When you go to work, it’s easy to avoid physical hazards, but what about invisible threats? Wearing protective masks is a simple way to avoid hazardous gases and substances - especially asbestos, which is still a big threat to those working in the construction industry...
What is asbestos?
Asbestos was a commonly used material in the building trade due to its strength and resistance to heat.
Kills around 5000 workers each year, more than the amount of people killed on the road.
Present in buildings built or refurbished before 2000, although it is no longer used in the construction trade.
When disturbed, fibres are released into the air, these fibres can cause serious illnesses over time if inhaled.
Can cause serious illness such as lung cancer, thickening of the lung lining and Asbestosis.
Reduces the chance of respiratory illness symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and breathing difficulty. Although you can’t see the hazard, it is still dangerous, even if you are only working in it for a matter of minutes.
Although many people see disadvantages to face masks; such as being uncomfortable to wear for long periods and disrupting communication in the workplace, it’s essential to keep to importance of using protective masks at the forefront of your mind when working around asbestos and other hazardous materials.
Wash before breaks and before going home
Make sure you are aware of working with asbestos and other hazardous materials
Replace filters in reusable masks frequently
Reuse disposable clothing or masks
Eat and drink in an asbestos work area
Take home overalls used in asbestos work
Sweep up dust or debris - use a wet cloth or Type H vacuum cleaner
Wearing a protective mask and coveralls will avoid any chance of damaging your health in the long run. Although protective masks can sometimes be pesky to wear, avoiding developing respiratory diseases should always be of the greatest importance.
When it comes to protective masks, don’t gamble on your health.