Special Topics in Safety Management

Take Control of Asbestos Hazards

Unprotected exposure to asbestos can be deadly. Keep your workers safe with comprehensive training, effective exposure controls, and proper PPE.

Asbestos was, and still is, a widely used substance. When the fibers stay bonded together, asbestos is safe. Asbestos becomes dangerous, however, when it becomes friable—meaning that it crumbles and releases airborne fibers that can be inhaled or ingested.

Health effects from exposure to asbestos include asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer—all debilitating diseases with poor prognoses.

Because of the serious health effects of exposure, OSHA has promulgated standards to protect employees from asbestos exposure in the workplace. OSHA standards specifically cover employees during construction work (29 CFR 1926.1101), including the alteration, repair, and demolition of structures containing asbestos; work in shipyards (29 CFR 1915.1001); and work in general industry (29 CFR 1910.1001), such as brake and clutch repair, custodial work, and the manufacture of asbestos-containing products.

Exposure Limits

The standards set strict permissible exposure limits (PELs) for asbestos. Workers can be exposed to no more than 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air (0.1f/cc) averaged over an 8-hour workday and 1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air (1f/cc) averaged for a 30-minute work period.

If airborne asbestos exceeds OSHA’s limits, you have use engineering controls to reduce these levels. For example, local exhaust ventilation and dust collection systems must be used when a process uses saws, drills, or other tools that could release asbestos fibers.

If engineering controls can’t reduce asbestos concentrations to safe levels, employees must wear respirators that effectively filter out asbestos fibers.

Other PPE to prevent exposures includes:

  • Coveralls or body suits

  • Gloves

  • Head and foot coverings

  • Face shields or vented goggles

Think you have no time to train? Think again. BLR’s 7-Minute Safety Trainer helps you fulfill key OSHA-required training tasks in as little as 7 minutes. Try it at no cost and see!

Safe Work Practices

In addition to other protections, working safely is a key factor in preventing asbestos exposure. Employees who may be exposed to asbestos need to observe safe work practices such as these:

  • Keep all surfaces as free of asbestos-containing dust as possible.

  • Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums to clean up asbestos-containing material.

  • Use wet-cleaning methods and dampen asbestos wastes before disposal.

  • Avoid eating, drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco or gum, or applying cosmetics in areas where asbestos fibers may be present.

  • Remove protective clothing and equipment before leaving the work area and place it in closed containers for cleaning.

  • Always keep contaminated work clothing separate from street clothes.

  • Dispose of asbestos-containing waste materials in clearly labeled, closed containers.

  • Wash hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking.

Can you picture safety training in effective, 7-minute sessions? Get the details.

E-Z Training at a Phenomenal Price

To help train employees in a broad range of safety and health topics, savvy safety professionals have for years relied on the BLR® 7-Minute Safety Trainer. This essential training resource allows you to provide concise, memorable training easily and effectively in just a few minutes. Materials are ready-to-use, and each session supplies a detailed trainer’s outline as well as a handout, quiz, and quiz answers to get your points across quickly—and cost-effectively.

All told, this “trainer’s bible” contains 50 prewritten meetings covering almost every aspect of safety you’d want or need to train on, in a format designed to be taught in as little as 7 minutes. Major topics include:

—Confined spaces
—Electrical safety
—Fire safety and emergency response
—Machine guarding and lockout/tagout
—Material handling
—PPE use and care
—Housekeeping/slips, trips, and falls
—and dozens more

Just make as many copies as you need of the included handouts and quizzes, and you’re ready to train.

Equally important is that the program ships new meetings every quarter to respond to new and changed regulations. This service is included in the program price, which averages just over $1 a working day. In fact, this is one of BLR’s most popular safety programs.

If you’d like to personally evaluate 7-Minute Safety Trainer and see how it can build safety awareness, we’ll be happy to send it to you for 30 days on a no-cost, no-obligation trial basis. Just let us know, and we’ll arrange it.

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