Asbestos is a serious threat to human health and has in recent decades been heavily concerned with the medical community in almost all countries of the world.
1.What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous silicate material, known since antiquity for its excellent fire resistance. Asbestos has been one of the most widely used materials because it has amazing properties (strength – quadruple steel, elasticity, resistance to acids and alkali, resistance to high temperatures of 100-1700 ° C, resistance to electricity and high thermal insulation capacity) which are difficult to obtain. any other material.
Asbestos is found naturally in serpentine and dubious minerals. The most common type is chrysotile (3MgO2SiO2.2H2O). This mineral is abundant in about 3/4 of the earth’s solid crust and is also found in Cypru
2. Use of asbestos
There are over 3,000 uses and applications of asbestos. Asbestos is used e.g. in asbestos cement products, insulation materials, anti-friction devices, fire protection equipment, etc.
Up to 90% of asbestos has recently been used for the production of asbestos cement products, such as pipes, roofing slabs, flat partitions, air ducts, etc.
3. Exposure to asbestos
Workers may be exposed to asbestos when:
(a) they work in the extraction of asbestos materials
(b) they work in the manufacture of asbestos-containing products
(c) they use / intervene on asbestos products
(d) they are located where improperly stored asbestos or asbestos-containing materials
(e) remove or deposit asbestos products
Research has shown that asbestos-containing products whose fibers are bonded or locked in, along with another commonly inert product, such as asbestos cement, resins and high density roofing products, do not release hazardous fibers or hazardous fibers. diameter in significant quantities to pose a health risk.
4. Diseases caused by asbestos
Immediate and first contact with asbestos does not cause obvious signs of illness. Asbestos becomes dangerous to health when high concentrations of fiber are inhaled for a long time. Persons who work with asbestos daily and are constantly exposed to it can be seriously harmed.
It has been found that it takes from 10 to 40 years for someone to develop the disease after exposure to asbestos. It seems unlikely that someone will develop such a disease after an episode of exposure to high amounts of asbestos fibers or exposure to small amounts for a short period of time. However, since the onset of disease is directly related to the sensitivity of each person, exposure to asbestos should always be avoided or, where this cannot be avoided, reduced to the minimum possible level and below any limits legislation
5. Main Diseases Caused by Asbestos:
Asbestos: Asbestos is the pneumoconiosis caused by asbestos fibers in the lungs. It is a very serious degenerative and progressive disease of the lungs that gradually destroys them. It is caused by long-term exposure to asbestos and results in permanent respiratory disabilities and deficiencies that require specialized medical treatment.
Lung Cancer: Asbestos is one of the main causes of lung cancer in non-smokers. In smokers who are also exposed to asbestos, the incidence of lung cancer multiplies.
Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the tissues of the membrane that covers the entire inner chest and abdomen and is not smoking related. It is a rare and very dangerous aggressive cancer with poor healing effects on healing. Asbestos exposure is a cause of mesothelioma.
6. Procedures and safeguards
The Occupational Safety and Health (Asbestos Protection) Regulations 2006 and 2015 ( PI 316/2006 and PI 46/2015 )apply to all of them workplaces where asbestos is used and determine the procedures and measures to be taken to protect workers from asbestos.
This legislation contains all the provisions of European Union Directive 83/477 / EEC as amended by Directives 91/382 / EEC, 2003/18 / EC and the International Labor Organization Convention No. 162.
Where asbestos-related work involves demolition, or removal of asbestos and / or asbestos-containing materials from buildings, structures, appliances or installations, such as asbestos removal and / or replacement works, the Safety and Health Act applies at the same time. Work (Minimum Requirements for Temporary or Moving Construction Sites) Regulations 2015 (PI 410/2015) , which lay down specific procedures and measures to address risks on construction sites.
The natural or legal person who is to undertake the transportation of asbestos-based materials must hold the Waste Management (Collection and Transportation) License or the Certificate of Registration in the Waste Management Archive for Asbestos Waste issued by the Department of the Environment. The license or certificate must be valid and valid. More information can be found on the Department of the Environment website .
As discussed below, Occupational Safety and Health legislation provides, inter alia, for the issuance of a Special License for Insulation or Asbestos Elimination Work, the written Inspector’s Notice and the preparation of a Work Plan (working method) and a Health and Safety Plan (where applicable).
Anyone who undertakes and / or performs any work related to asbestos insulation or coating must possess a specific License.