The most dangerous biohazards are those that are invisible to the eye. If your facility handles hazardous materials it is essential to warn workers and visitors of risks. A public health sign ensures that everyone is aware of harmful substances in your facility, and will direct those unfamiliar with such materials in the appropriate safety precautions. Warning signs are hard to ignore - even when dangers are not immediately apparent.
• Display Asbestos Warning Signs & Labels to alert workers and visitors to the dangers of breathing Asbestos fibers and creating dust.
• Identify Cancer Suspect Agents to ensure that safety precautions are taken.
• Remind everyone to wear a respirator in areas contaminated with Lead.
Q.What are some of the health risks of asbestos exposure?
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral fiber and carcinogen, finds application in construction, shipbuilding and automotive industries. The hazard lies in inhalation and unintended ingestion of these fibers when they are released into the air due to a disturbance of asbestos containing materials. These fibers can become trapped in the lungs or embedded in the digestive tract. Prolonged exposure can cause asbestosis, non-malignant lung and pleural disorders, mesothelioma, lung disease and lung cancer.
Q.Which regulatory standards apply to Asbestos in the US?
Classified as a carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, asbestos has also been defined in both the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) 1979 and the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) 1986.
The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) defines asbestos installation and removal regulations as well as guidelines to reduce the amount of asbestos fibers released into the air.
OSHA has also established strict workplace regulations in Standard 29 CFR 1910.12 to manage asbestos exposure.
Similarly, EPA specifies asbestos-specific laws and regulations. in detail on its site too
Q.As an employer, what precautions/safety measures I need to undertake for Asbestos?
OSHA has established detailed regulations for employers to monitor and manage asbestos exposure at the workplace and ensure the health and safety of employees. These regulations require employers to:
- Conduct awareness programs, constantly monitor asbestos levels, and create regulated zones as required.
- Ensure the airborne asbestos concentration is no more than 0.2 fibers per cubic centimeter of air.
- Provide employees with protective clothing, hygiene facilities, and regular health checks.
- Post Asbestos Warning Signs ensuring sufficient information and warning against the hazard.
Additionally, employers should also ensure the installation of properly functioning ventilation, exhaust vents, and respirators.
Q.What are the OSHA Standards to safeguard against Asbestos hazard?
Based on the type of workforce, OSHA has three standards to safeguard workers from the hazards of asbestos. These standards address asbestos exposure specific to the general industry, shipyards, and construction.
The standards define permissible exposure limit as well as the steps and precautions employers must take for the safety of workers.
You can find complete details on the OSHA website.
Q.What do the new OSHA Asbestos signage requirements include?
The new OSHA asbestos signage requirements dictate that warning signs be provided and displayed at all regulated areas and approaches to regulated areas.
Signs must use words as listed below:
MAY CAUSE CANCER
CAUSES DAMAGE TO LUNGS
AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
OSHA also requires employers to use relevant asbestos warning labels or signs where the use of protective clothing and respirators is required. These signs must use language like, “WEAR RESPIRATORY PROTECTION AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING IN THIS AREA.”
Employers should ensure the signage is understood by workers. This may include use of foreign language, pictographs and graphics, and awareness training.