A household appliance installer is responsible for a number of different services. He or she must be trained and capable of installing stoves, dryers, and washing machines, in addition to repairing hot water heaters and piping. The installer must maintain a technical knowledge of how these appliances work and how to install them in both new and older buildings. They must be able to ensure that appliances are working properly and at peak efficiency to protect energy use and the safety of the homeowner. However, due to the nature of their job, household appliance installers are at an increased risk for asbestos exposure.
Many household appliance installers who began their career prior to the government regulation of asbestos may have come into contact with the mineral on a regular basis. In the past, many materials and appliances used within the home made extensive use of asbestos. Asbestos was a popular insulator to keep heat from spreading and degrading the performance of nearby appliances. Asbestos was also a common material used in the construction of a home. Everything from the tiles to the ceiling to roof shingles could have been composed of the mineral. Insulation in the foundation of the home and drywall was also typical.
Asbestos and Household Appliances
For household appliance installers, of particular danger was the asbestos used to insulate gas lines and water pipes. During installation of an appliance, it was possible for some of this material to crumble, releasing friable asbestos fibers into the air. Furthermore, removal of an old appliance or simply renovating space could also break off pieces of asbestos that could lead to serious health risks. Even today, household appliance installers must take care when installing or repairing a machine in an older home. Protective gear, including a mask and a respirator, should be worn when working with material that may contain asbestos.
As a household appliance installer travels from home to home, the worker may serve as a vector for asbestos. Asbestos fibers can easily attach themselves to clothing, hair, and skin. When those areas are later disrupted, the fibers can float off into the atmosphere. While the risk for exposure to clients is minimal, for the workers and their families, this could mean additional exposure outside the workplace. Ultimately, prolonged exposure to asbestosis can lead to a number of crippling diseases such as malignant mesothelioma.