If you previously worked with toxic materials like asbestos or continue to do so today, your health could be in danger. Exposure to asbestos can lead to devastating illnesses like mesothelioma, so it is crucial to have effective protective gear when you are working around asbestos.
Types of protective gear
Asbestos fibers can be harmful in many ways. It can cover your clothes or get on your shoes, meaning you can carry it with you even after you are off the job site. Breathing asbestos in can lead to the sharp fibers getting trapped in your lungs, causing scarring and inflammation.
Thus, there are many types of protective gear that can be necessary to prevent contamination, including:
- Disposable coveralls
- Shoe covers or boots that are easily wiped clean
- Air-purifying respirators with replaceable filters
- Safety glasses
These types of equipment prevent direct contact with asbestos. Further, this gear should be disposable or easily cleaned and decontaminated. You should also avoid taking the gear home to prevent the fibers from transferring offsite.
Does this gear always work?
When you wear this equipment regularly and properly, the pieces can all but eliminate your risk of asbestos exposure.
Unfortunately, mistakes can leave you vulnerable to exposure even when you use personal protective gear (PPE). Some examples of how this can happen include:
- Utilizing improper disposal practices
- Reusing single-use PPE
- Making or selling defective equipment
- Failing to enforce proper use policies
These are mistakes that do not have to happen. Parties, including employers, manufacturers and workers, can prevent them by knowing and complying with proper asbestos regulations.
Holding parties accountable
If someone’s failure to provide proper PPE or maintain safety equipment leads to illnesses caused by asbestos exposure, they can be liable for the considerable damages this causes. These damages can include emotional distress, medical bills and future loss of income resulting from a mesothelioma diagnosis.