What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the common name for an element that is made up of six minerals that occur naturally in the environment. These are found in the form of fibres that can be separated into thin, durable threads, and are used in commercial and industrial applications. Asbestos is a go-to option in such industries as it is heat and fire resistant, and the chemicals are also bad conductors of electricity. The asbestos used in commercial applications are of the chrysotile form, according to occupational hygienists of asbestos in Sydney.
When does Asbestos become a risk?
According to studies, asbestos that is in good condition, found in buildings, living or working spaces, are not generally considered to be dangerous to humans. However, when the asbestos is disturbed, asbestos fibres are released into the air, and enter into the lungs of people who work with the material. This causes various health problems, which include certain forms of cancer. Those at maximum risk of developing asbestos-related diseases are people that carry out repairs, renovations and other work that can generate the release of asbestos fibres into the air.
Experts in occupational hygiene services in Sydney believe that the major way in which asbestos endangers human health is when the fibres are inhaled as a result of frequent and prolonged exposure. Although doctors believe that prolonged exposure over several decades could cause diseases like mesothelioma, they have only recently understood that short term exposure to asbestos fibres can also pose a serious threat to health, especially if the exposure rate is very high.
Health hazards due to short-term exposure to asbestos
Short-term exposure to asbestos in the work place can be seen as a legitimate cause of mesothelioma, within a legal context. Some doctors go so far as to say that even a single instance of highly saturated yet short-term exposure to asbestos fibres can result in mesothelioma that would be diagnosed decades later. Several cases of patients succumbing to mesothelioma that resulted from short-term exposure have also been recorded in the past. Although these are less common than mesothelioma due to prolonged exposure, these are nevertheless a real concern. The presence of airborne asbestos fibres found within the lungs is seen as the first catalyst for the emergence of mesothelioma in patients. This proves that short term exposure can be as harmful as frequent contact with asbestos. Some other diseases that rise out of short-term exposure to asbestos are benign conditions of the pleura, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Gastro-intestinal cancer and laryngeal cancer are just two of the different types of cancer that result from asbestos exposure. It has even been known to cause cancer in the ovary in women who work with or around asbestos in the work place.
How to Prevent Asbestos Exposure
Employees who are affected by exposure to asbestos could sue the company for damages. Short-term exposure to asbestos is a legal matter that can stand up in court. Legal repercussions notwithstanding, it is, of course, every employer’s concern that the work environment is safe for their employees. In order to ensure that your work environment adequately protects your employees from exposure to asbestos, it is best to acquire the assistance of occupational hygiene services in Sydney to advice you on the proper safety measures that could protect your employees from asbestos exposure. They will also introduce you to safety standards and safety equipment to reduce the ill-effects of short-term high exposure to asbestos in the work environment.
Apart from this, it is common knowledge that asbestos is not the only harmful carcinogenic material found in factories and other work places. The presence of mould has been discovered as the cause behind many occupational health issues. An occupational hygienist for mould could perform a sweep of your work place to check for and protect your employees from mould exposure.