An online support group for workers affected by Mesothelioma. Asbestos could have been inhaled many years ago whilst working without personal protective equipment (H&S wasn't as strict as it is today). It's important that any person working cutting pipes in the past contact their GP/Doctor for an examination. Caught early enough, Mesothelioma can be removed. Keep watching.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries.
Chemically, asbestos minerals are silicate compounds, meaning they contain atoms of silicon and oxygen in their molecular structure.
Asbestos minerals are divided into two major groups: Serpentine asbestos and amphibole asbestos. Serpentine asbestos includes the mineral chrysotile, which has long, curly fibers that can be woven. Chrysotile asbestos is the form that has been used most widely in commercial applications. Amphibole asbestos includes the minerals actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and amosite. Amphibole asbestos has straight, needle-like fibers that are more brittle than those of serpentine asbestos and are more limited in their ability to be fabricated .
Measures to be taken by employers to protect workers from exposure to asbestos
Where there is asbestos present or suspected to be present, employers are required to:
- identify the presence/suspicion of asbestos;
- check the condition of the material;
- assess the likelihood of asbestos being disturbed by current/potential work;
- if in a bad condition, seek to get the asbestos removed using specialist contractors;
- assess the risk of workers being exposed to same;
- identify the type of asbestos involved;
- put in place measures to prevent exposure. If it is not possible to prevent exposure, to minimise it by reducing exposure to the lowest practicable level and at the very least below the exposure limit values;
- erect signage to notify users of the presence of asbestos;
- provide relevant training and information to employee about asbestos
Where asbestos is found in a workplace and it is necessary to disturb or remove it employers must:
- introduce of formal management systems to control work which has the potential to disturb asbestos;
- notify the HSA prior to carrying out any work that would be liable to expose or expose an employee to asbestos dust;
- prepare a plan of work for removal;
- ensure persons involved in asbestos removal have provided evidence of ability to carry out the work;
- dispose of asbestos waste in a safe manner and ensure the clear up of asbestos dust is carried out using a dustless method;
- remove asbestos dust from the air as near as possible to the point where it enters the workplaces involved;
- provide a health assessment for employees who may be exposed to asbestos.