Most types of construction worker are at risk of coming into contact with asbestos, especially during demolition or remodeling of older buildings and structures. Those workers considered most at risk for being exposed to the dangerous material include electricians, insulators, plumbers, pipefitters, drywall installers, and sheet metal workers. However, the list is not limited to these types of workers. Even those involved in roofing and flooring may be exposed to asbestos as well.
Electricians risk exposure to asbestos during electrical insulation or building insulation. They may also come into contact with pipes that contain asbestos too. Asbestos exposure is especially common in older buildings, and many electricians will have to deal with the substance when remodeling or doing maintenance work on such buildings.
Since insulators typically work indoors they can be heavily exposed to asbestos particles. An insulator’s job is often very dusty and dirty, and it is not hard for particles to touch the skin of an insulator. It is also very easy for particles to get into an insulator’s respiratory system.
The job of insulators can be complex, as they often work to reduce energy through the insulation of the building. This may involve taping, wiring, cementing, or even spraying insulation, which often contains asbestos. Insulators also work to prevent the transfer of heat within a building, which requires the installation of materials into areas of a building often containing asbestos. Furthermore, insulators often use compressors to blow insulation into attics and walls of certain buildings, which can easily transfer asbestos particles as well.
Many insulators are responsible for removing asbestos during remodeling and demolition projects. This has proven to be a risky task, and many precautions have been put into place in order to protect workers. In addition to wearing protective gear and ventilating the area, there are specific techniques in which an insulator must use in order to safely remove asbestos.
Plumbers and Pipefitters
Plumbers work to install and repair the plumbing systems of homes and buildings. This includes working with the water and drainage systems, as well as waste disposal and gas systems. Pipefitters deal with the pipes in a building or home that work to heat and cool buildings, in addition to generating electricity. Often both plumbers and pipefitters come into contact with insulation surrounding the plumbing systems and pipes in a location. Sometimes these workers are even responsible for removing the asbestos from those areas.
Many older dry wall products including joint compound, dry wall tape, and plaster often contained asbestos. Even some types of older ceilings contain this mineral. Drywall installers often come into contact with these older products that cause dangerous exposure to the material that might result in one of several types of cancer.
Sheet Metal Workers
Sheet metal workers work in various avenues that can expose them to asbestos. Not only do they work with ducts for heating and cooling systems that can contain asbestos, but they are also involved in the roofing process, which can expose them to asbestos as well.