What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fibre that naturally occurs in rock and soil. In the construction industry, asbestos is used in many products, such as floor and ceiling tiles, siding, and building insulation.
When is Asbestos a Hazard?
Asbestos is a safety hazard when it is disturbed and released into the air. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause many adverse health effects, including but not limited to:
- Lung cancer
How Can I Be Exposed to Asbestos?
The Government of Canada’s Healthy Canadian’s web site outlines the following as activities that may put you at risk to be exposed to asbestos:
- Disturbing or removing insulation that contains asbestos, including insulation and hot water pipes and tanks
- Removing or disturbing roofing shingles and felt or siding containing asbestos
- Sanding, breaking apart or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
- Breaking apart soundproofing ceiling tiles containing asbestos
- Sanding or disturbing plaster containing asbestos, including acoustical plaster
- Sawing, drilling, or smoothing rough edges of asbestos materials
- Sanding or scraping older surface treatments containing asbestos
How Do I Protect Myself from Asbestos?
- Be aware of where asbestos may occur, and the safety risks associated with exposure to asbestos
- Only qualified persons should remove asbestos
- Use required engineering controls
- Always wear PPE appropriately fitted to the worker, including respirators, head and body protection
- Always follow proper procedures to ensure the safe disposal of asbestos