How can workers protect themselves from asbestos exposure?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a component of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and is the Federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in maritime, construction, manufacturing, and service workplaces. OSHA established regulations dealing with asbestos exposure on the job, specifically in construction work, shipyards, and general industry, that employers are required to follow. In addition, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), another component of DOL, enforces regulations related to mine safety. Workers should use all protective equipment provided by their employers and follow recommended workplace practices and safety procedures. For example, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators that fit properly should be worn by workers when required.
Workers who are concerned about asbestos exposure in the workplace should discuss the situation with other employees, their employee health and safety representative, and their employers. If necessary, OSHA can provide more information or make an inspection. Information about regional offices can also be found on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html.
More information about asbestos is available on OSHA’s Asbestos page, which has links to information about asbestos in the workplace, including what OSHA standards apply, the hazards of asbestos, evaluating asbestos exposure, and controls used to protect workers. OSHA’s national office can be contacted at:
Office of Public Affairs
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
https://www.osha.gov/workers (workers’ page)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is another Federal agency that is concerned with asbestos exposure in the workplace. NIOSH conducts asbestos-related research, evaluates work sites for possible health hazards, and makes exposure control recommendations. In addition, NIOSH distributes publications on the health effects of asbestos exposure and can suggest additional sources of information. NIOSH can be contacted at:
Education and Information Division
Information Resources Branch
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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Source: National Cancer Institute.
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