If you are an employer in an industry where employees can be exposed to asbestos, part of your requirements is to implement safety training and programs for your employees. Since asbestos can lung cancer and mesothelioma, the training program you implement should include information and programs related to health. Here are several key subjects related to health that should be included in your asbestos safety training program.
Respiratory & Personal Protective Equipment
You'll need to provide respiratory and personal protective equipment to your employees who will be exposed to known and potential asbestos-containing materials. More importantly, you will need to include training on how to safely put on and take off the equipment while mitigating risks of exposure. Ideally, practicing the routines of safely wearing and removing the equipment should be done on a regular basis to ensure that each employee knows the procedures and can perform them safely without putting themselves and others in the area at risk of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Health Classes
Exposure to asbestos can put your employees at greater risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural effusions, and other types of cancer. Asbestos can also scar the lining of the lungs. Your asbestos safety training should include information about these health conditions and other health risks that can be exacerbated by exposure to asbestos, particularly cigarette smoking. Your employees should learn what symptoms to watch for that may be caused by asbestos exposure.
Medical Surveillance Program
Another aspect of your company's asbestos safety program should be the implementation of a medical surveillance program. This type of program involves having your employees regularly monitored by a healthcare professional who is trained in recognizing the health concerns of asbestos-caused medical conditions. Depending on the frequency and levels of possible exposures, your employees may need to undergo routine medical exams to adequately surveil their health.
Smoking Cessation Class & Program
If you have any employees who currently smoke cigarettes or have smoked them in the past, include a smoking cessation class in your asbestos safety training program. The reason for this is due to the fact that cigarette smokers are 50 to 84 times more likely to develop asbestos-related lung cancer because their lungs are damaged and have a changed inflammatory response. Since the smokers' safety is at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, include a smoking cessation program in your safety training by promoting the use of smoking cessation tools and medications.