The Health & Safety Advisor defines asbestos as 'a group of highly fibrous minerals characterised by separable, long and thin fibres.'
The Asbestos Regulation recognises six asbestos minerals:
If your company uses any of these asbestos minerals, you must ensure your employees aren't overexposed to them.
So what are the signs of over exposure to asbestos?
Here are the symptoms of overexposure to asbestos?
The short-term effects of inhaling asbestos fibres suspended in air, i.e. asbestos dust include:
The long-term effects to watch out for are:
Please note that the risk of developing any of these diseases depends on many factors, including the type of fibre, the level and duration of exposure, and the smoking history of the exposed employee.
Is there anything you can do to protect employees working with asbestos?
'Implement an Occupational Hygiene Survey to determine if employees are exposed to an airborne asbestos concentration exceeding the occupational exposure limit (OEL),' says the Health & Safety Advisor.
The established exposure limit for workplaces in South Africa is 0.2 regulated asbestos fibre/mL averaged over any continuous period of four hours.
If the airborne concentration of asbestos exceeds the occupational exposure limit, you must provide:
Knowing the signs the symptoms of over exposure to asbestos will help ensure you take steps to protect employees working with asbestos.
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