How To Avoid Asbestos Exposure

by Editor on July 15, 2012

All electricians face an increased risk of asbestos exposure because of the equipment and materials they deal with on a daily basis. This useful article by Mike from the Mesothelioma Center gives us some useful info about asbestos.

Electrician Working on Panel


Electricians face numerous hazards during their day-to-day work. Handling electrical materials on a regular basis requires constant safety and caution. However, beyond the common dangers associated with electrical work – such as electrical shock – another serious danger lurks for these professionals. This potential hazard is exposure to asbestos.

About Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally forming mineral that became widely used during the middle and late 1900s. This substance is dangerous because the fibers that compose it can get lodged in human tissue if inhaled. Multiple asbestos-related diseases result from this exposure, including mesothelioma disease, lung cancer and asbestosis.

Electricians are at increased risk of asbestos exposure because of the equipment, parts and tasks that they deal with on a daily basis. According to a study in the British Journal of Cancer, they have a one in 50 risk of developing mesothelioma if they were born in the 1940s and worked as an electrician since the age of 20 or younger. However, there are precautions that electricians can take in order to avoid asbestos exposure and asbestos related cancer.

Safety through Knowledge

All electricians face dangers of exposure to asbestos because their job requires them to work around asbestos products. Still, exposure can be avoided and reduced by learning about asbestos. Understanding what products likely contain asbestos and how to handle them allows electricians to deal with it appropriately.

Here are some of the products that electricians interact with that may contain asbestos:

  • Electrical wiring
  • Ductwork
  • Adhesives
  • Wallboard plasters
  • Corkboard
  • Fuse boxes
  • Asbestos tape
  • Insulation

This list includes just some of the products and materials that may contain asbestos that electricians should be aware of. For a more exhaustive list, you can search online or through reputable industry safety publications.

An additional step that electricians can take to inform themselves is to learn more about the buildings and homes that they work in. They should learn if the risk of asbestos exposure is relatively high or low in that building. Conducting a brief background research as to whether the structure was built prior to the 1980s will provide a lot of insight as to whether asbestos is present.

Precaution Through Equipment

One obvious safety step that electricians can take is to wear proper safety equipment for each location where they perform work. Even though it is often industry standard to wear safety equipment, not all professionals understand the protection that these items provide against asbestos exposure.

By wearing gloves, a uniform, hard hat and other safety equipment, electricians are minimizing the possibility that asbestos gets lodged to their clothing. In the instance that asbestos-containing products are disturbed and fibers are released, protective equipment will keep the fibers from becoming lodged onto your clothes and undergarments that are taken home.

Many asbestos-related diseases have resulted from industrial workers bringing home asbestos-tainted clothing, inadvertently exposing their family members to asbestos. If this equipment is regularly transported between work and home, thoroughly wash and decontaminate it prior to transporting.

Bio: Mark Hall is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center. Between his interests in environmental health and his writing experience, Mark is committed to communicating relevant mesothelioma news and information regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure and breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatments.

More info about Asbestos


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Electrical Safety Guy October 11, 2012 at 13:25

It’s a great article and important to hear that electrical PPE offers a basic level of defence against asbestos for electricians and their families. That’s even more of a reason to ensure that the correct gear is worn. The author is right, and it’s important for electricians to be aware of risk items (there’s a shocking amount of them) as well as to research properties well before beginning work to identify risk areas.

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