Many industries require their workers to work on asbestos roofs. Electricians, plumbers, and people in the building industry might have to get up there and work their way around a large amount of asbestos. Unfortunately, that means exposing themselves to harmful fibres that could make them sick.
If you or your team must work around asbestos roof tiles, you must understand the dangers and keep them to an absolute minimum. Below is what could happen if you are exposed to asbestos over a prolonged period.
After prolonged exposure to asbestos materials during working on a fragile roof system, you could develop asbestosis. It is a chronic lung decision that has a long latency period. In fact, it often takes between 20 and 30 years to show.
There is no cure for asbestosis, although the most severe cases may qualify for lung transplantation.
The symptoms include shortness of breath, clubbing on the fingertips and toes, chest pain, a dry cough, and a loss of appetite.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. If you or your workers handle roofing material containing asbestos, you could be at risk. The common symptoms are chest or lower back pain, coughing, hoarseness, swelling, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. It is an aggressive and fatal type of cancer – the average life expectancy is only a few years after diagnosis.
Lung cancer is a common type of cancer with multiple causes, including exposure to asbestos. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is around sixteen months, and treatment includes chemotherapy. It’s an aggressive form of cancer with symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Risk of Falling
One of the dangers doesn’t revolve around asbestos at all. When working on any roof, workers are at risk of falling. That is why it’s important to include fall protection systems in such a work area.
These dangers aren’t small. Fortunately, certain work practices ensure harm from asbestos fibres is kept to a minimum.
A good solution is to wear personal protective equipment each time you are near asbestos. Protective clothing that’s in good condition and handled correctly can ensure your safety, whether you’re working with asbestos roofing shingles or cement. Make sure everyone in the team wears them and disposes of the appropriate gear after exposure.
For the falling hazard, fall protection systems are a must. Fall protection barriers ensure that you and your workers don’t sustain a falling injury while at work. Remember – it’s not always about height. Sometimes, the danger is what you might fall on.
If you need more help with occupational safety and health, check out an environmental protection agency.
There are several types of asbestos, but white asbestos is the kind that usually resides in roofs – partly because of its fire resistance. Whether you are putting an asphalt shingle, applying roofing products, or handling asbestos cement, you must take proper precautions, even if you and your team are only around the asbestos for a short period.