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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Asbestos Dangers

Asbestos dangers are still here, even though the building material was banned, or mostly banned, over three decades ago. Hear this podcast for the hazards and solutions.

Asbestos was used in many construction materials up to 1981. It was banned for common usage due to health issues such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Construction and demolition involving structures built prior to 1981 should always include precautions for asbestos dangers. In this podcast, Dan Clark offers ways to protect workers, including PPE, engineering controls and labeling.

Finally, Dan offers a list of many of the building materials we must assume contain asbestos.


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Dan Clark: Asbestos? I thought that was banned in the 70s. Yes, and no. Let’s look at asbestos dangers that are here right now.

Hi, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Asbestos is a brand name. It’s actually a commercial name for a group of six naturally occurring minerals that have tiny fibers. These fibers have good properties, in that they’re heat, fire and chemical resistant, and non-conductive.

Asbestos used to be widely used in construction materials such as tile, shingles, siding, insulation and even in appliances such as hairdryers and car brakes. It was banned in the US for common applications in the 1970s, but it’s not completely illegal. It’s also there in many old homes and buildings built before 1981.

Even though it has beneficial properties, asbestos is a serious hazard for workers. In early 2014, a development company in New York was fined over 2 million for OSHA violations including asbestos.

Know when asbestos could be present and how to keep it from becoming a problem. And these are the problems:


The small asbestos fibers can get trapped in the lungs and lead to:

• Asbestosis—scarring of the lung tissue.
• Mesothelioma— a cancer in the thin layer of tissue that covers most internal organs, including the lungs.
• Lung cancer.

Many times the effects of asbestos aren’t seen for years or even decades.

When asbestos is present, precautions are required: HEPA vacuums, PPE including respirators, local exhaust systems and hazard labels.


Asbestos is common. Know when the property was built and, if any of these materials were installed pre-1981, assume they contain asbestos:

• Vinyl floor tiles
• Plaster
• Cement
• Caulk
• Ceiling tiles
• Roofing shingles
• Siding shingles
• Thermal system insulation
• Industrial pipe wrapping.

That’s it for this episode on Asbestos Dangers. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply.


asbestos warning tape image © ℗ 2015 – © ℗ 2005 Stephen Simpson (jayphen)

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