In the bustling city of New York, construction is a constant sight. Yet amidst the noise and the dust, the silent threat of asbestos looms. As a construction worker or site manager, understanding this risk is crucial for your safety and those around you.
Asbestos, once lauded for its resistance to heat and durability, is now a known health hazard. When disturbed, it can release microscopic fibers that, when inhaled, can lead to serious illnesses. Construction sites in New York are especially susceptible because of the city’s large number of older buildings.
Asbestos is a hidden danger
Asbestos is naturally occurring and was in construction materials for decades. Today, we recognize it as a carcinogen, linked to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. On construction sites, asbestos can lurk in insulation, roofing, flooring and more. During construction, you may disturb or damage these materials, and asbestos fibers can become airborne and pose a serious risk to anyone nearby.
Construction sites can be a hotbed for asbestos exposure
In New York, many buildings constructed before the 1980s likely contain asbestos. Therefore, when these buildings undergo renovation, demolition or repair, the chance of asbestos exposure increases significantly. Construction workers often unknowingly come into contact with asbestos-containing materials, making them particularly vulnerable.
Mitigating asbestos risk
To reduce the risk of asbestos exposure, construction site managers must adhere to strict safety regulations. Before beginning any project, site managers should conduct an asbestos survey to identify any asbestos-containing materials. If found, only trained professionals should handle the removal to ensure the asbestos does not become airborne. Provide workers with proper personal protective equipment, training and regular health checks.
Health effects of asbestos exposure
Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause several health problems. The most common include asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that causes shortness of breath and coughing, and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen. These conditions often take years or even decades to develop after exposure.
Asbestos poses a significant risk on New York construction sites, especially those involving older buildings. However, construction site managers can limit exposure to asbestos, thus safeguarding the health of workers.