Although asbestos had its heyday in America half a century ago, asbestos exposure remains a major health risk and financial liability for construction professionals. One study estimates that at least 1.3 million construction industry workers are still at risk for occupational asbestos exposure.
Up until the 1980s, U.S. manufacturers mixed asbestos into thousands of construction products. Asbestos is a unique mineral that can be worked into flexible fibers while still retaining its durability and heat resistance. Unfortunately, the fibrous nature of asbestos also makes it highly toxic.
This article provides an overview of what construction professionals need to know about asbestos, including:
- potential long-term health consequences of asbestos exposure for workers and short-term financial consequences for employers;
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration asbestos regulations;
- how to identify and safely remove asbestos-containing materials; and
- what people should do if they have a history of asbestos exposure.
Reprinted courtesy of Daniel King, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.