Considered to be a type of carpenter, a slater or roofer is an individual who is responsible for replacing, repairing, or installing roofs on residential or commercial properties. In the majority of cases, “slater” and “roofer” are used synonymously. Though professional roofers have been trained to work on rooftops which can be dangerous, other dangers exist such as exposure to toxic chemicals and hazards such as asbestos.
For several decades, many roofers were exposed to several dangers that are commonly involved in the roofing process such as asbestos, which was often used to coat the roofs. Asbestos was commonly used for two reasons, the first being the durability of the roof, as asbestos is quite long-lasting. The second was its resistance to heat and fire, meaning that the occupants of the building would be safer from temperature and fire. There are many roofing materials that contain asbestos such as roofing felt, roofing shingles and tiles, caulking putties, asphalt shingles, roofing putty, adhesives that are cold-applied, mastic, fire sealants, and cement extrusion panels that were either laminated, flat, and corrugated.
Asbestos and Roofers
Roofing is a very particular talent with each home’s roof being different. This means that roofing materials often require cutting in order to meet the necessary specifications and cover the roof. Therefore, shingles composed of asbestos were nailed, sawed, and drilled in order to complete the process adequately. The manipulation of the shingles as well as other materials containing asbestos results in release of fibers, which can be inhaled by the roofers as well as others in the vicinity of the work. The repairing or removal of old roofs was and is highly hazardous. It used to be rare for roofers to use protective gear as they weren’t aware of the potential health conditions which could arise. Therefore, these workers would often rip asbestos by hand in order to make room for the new roof. The tearing of the material could easily lead to asbestos fibers becoming airborne.
Roofing is not the only profession which consists of using asbestos containing materials that can lead to health conditions. Although newer roofs do not contain the hazardous mineral, roofers should make sure they are aware of the possibility that asbestos may still be present in the area. If asbestos is present, it is possible that the individual may contract a condition relating to asbestos exposure. Therefore, regular checkups should be obtained.