Most construction workers who have been in the business for a long time understand the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. They may even have a friend, or a friend of a friend, who contracted an asbestos-related illness.

Asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases require immediate and costly medical treatment and they can also be fatal. Make sure you follow these safety tips to reduce your risks of contracting one.

Tips to prevent asbestos exposure

The following tips could save your life when it comes to working near or with asbestos:

  • Wear personal protective equipment and clothing.
  • Wet the material thoroughly before you start working with it, or spray it with 1:10 polyvinyl acetate to water solution. Use a low-pressure garden hose with just plain water if necessary. Keep the asbestos wet until it’s ready for transportation.
  • When using hand tools, make sure they’re non-powered as this will limit dust and be more likely to produce chips what will not cause as much ambient air contamination.
  • Before removing sheeting material, pull out the nails to prevent the material from breaking.
  • Try not to break or cut the asbestos materials.
  • Throw away your personal protective equipment appropriately and safely.
  • Immediately wash your body and hair after working with asbestos no matter what you were wearing. Clean your fingernails and hands carefully to take away any dust that could be left on your body.

The most important thing to do to prevent asbestos exposure

At the end of the day, the most important thing to do to prevent asbestos exposure is simply not to accept a job that involves working with or near the substances. Your life and health are worth far more than any paycheck you could ever receive. Also, consider the astronomical medical costs of treating someone who contracts mesothelioma or asbestosis, combined with the lost income. It may be more cost effective to go without the job.

If you are suffering from an asbestos-caused illness, investigate your legal rights and options surrounding workers’ compensation and other benefits.