North Carolina residents: be aware of summer asbestos hazards

Summer is the perfect time to take vacations with the family, spend time with friends at a backyard barbecue and just generally relax. However, there are still risks of getting seriously injured or sick during these months and it can be crucial to be aware of them.

One very real threat to people’s safety is exposure to asbestos. During the summer, there are a number of season-specific events and conditions that may involve asbestos and the potential for people to breathe in the toxic fibers.

For example, as this article about environmental health and safety notes, summer is when many schools undergo construction. With the children on vacation, projects to repair, demolish or renovate older schools are often started. In many cases, these projects will involve some amount of asbestos abatement and cleanup, so schools can be a particularly dangerous place to be during the summer without proper protection.

Construction projects on homes or office buildings can also present a threat to people’s safety during the summer thanks in part to soaring temperatures. When it’s very hot, construction workers may be tempted to cool off by removing heavy protective clothing or choosing not to put on respiratory masks. While this may cool workers off, it can also leave them exposed to the elements and at risk of breathing in asbestos. Employers should be sure they provide outdoor or construction workers with water, plenty of opportunities to rest and a place to cool down safely.

Finally, there are many young people looking for summer jobs to make some extra cash. Some employers may try to take advantage of their inexperience and give them jobs where they are working with toxic materials without knowing it and without being properly trained and protected. This puts young people at risk of being exposed to asbestos, particularly those who work in manufacturing, construction or transportation industries.

We hope that bringing readers’ attention to these summer-specific asbestos hazards will help people all across North Carolina avoid them and stay safe.