Workers’ comp insurance may cover the financial losses a person suffers after asbestos exposure. This is a highly-dangerous material. It is present in many building structures and materials. Asbestos exposure is difficult to treat, which is why avoiding exposure is critical. What can your company do to minimize this risk?
Follow All OSHA Guidelines
Any business with employees at risk for asbestos exposure must have protocol to avoid it. If you are a new company or one looking for solutions, OSHA is the best first step. The organization provides straightforward information and tools to educate on asbestos material, presence and avoidance. Meet these guidelines, at minimum, to keep the business safe on a basic level.
Other Steps to Take
The most common methods for reducing asbestos exposure include the following. These may not be enough to meet OSHA guidelines in all cases, though.
- Limit access to controlled areas, called zones. Zones are areas where asbestos is present. Walking into these areas even for a moment creates exposure.
- Always insist that employees wear properly-working respiratory protection. This is not the place to purchase inferior products.
- When in an asbestos zone, never drink, eat, chew gum, or add any type of cosmetic product to the skin. This creates a higher risk for exposure.
- Protective clothing is critical. It generally includes a full body suit designed specifically for toxic environments. It should include gloves, foot coverings, head coverings, and face shields.
- Never bring clothing home from an asbestos zone. Rather, leave them present to be properly laundered. Simply putting them in a car and bringing them home increases exposure.
- Use HEPA vacuums when cleaning up messes. It is best to keep the material wet at all times. Use properly designed vacuums to remove the material. The goal is to keep it from being airborne as much as possible.
- Provide emergency intervention techniques. These might include things like eyewash and showers for those who experience exposure.
Business owners need to be aggressive in minimizing asbestos exposure. Properly test any building before opening up walls. Gather insight into the home’s building time-frame as well. Additionally, businesses need to keep employees up to date. Host an annual training program every six months to a year. Provide very clear and specific steps for employees to take when they encounter asbestos.
Because of the risks, workers' compensation insurance is critical in these situations. It may help provide financial compensation to those exposed to this material. It can limit your business’s out-of-pocket costs for medical care for this exposure as well.