Asbestos removal jobs are associated with some hazards, but if proper protection is worn, the removal of the hazardous material may be done safely. Asbestos can cause cancer and mesothelioma, and it can harm the lungs if protective equipment is not worn. Asbestos was used in the construction of many buildings. It has commonly been used in insulating products, in shipbuilding, in flooring tiles, and in automotive parts. Any worker who is exposed to asbestos needs to know all of the facts about working with this material before accepting any job associated with it. Today, a license is required to work in asbestos removal. Before the license is granted, the worker must complete the required training for the job. This includes precautionary measurements to ensure that the person is not exposed to this hazardous material.
Asbestos removal jobs are in demand, mostly because this material is still present in many buildings and must be removed. If asbestos is found to be in a school or public building, it needs to be removed. Many local governments have implemented laws that require the removal of asbestos from buildings. Employers are responsible for making sure that workers are protected with the right type of protective equipment when they are working, and the employer must supply protective gear. This protection covers the entire body from head to feet, including the head. Workers breathe through a respirator that cleans the air and removes asbestos as they breathe. Goggles are worn over the eyes. Every part of the body must be covered, and workers are advised to take a shower after finishing their work and removing the protective gear.
Asbestos removal jobs are in high demand around the world. This is because many floors are covered with asbestos tiles or other floor coverings made of asbestos that must be removed. Workers use tools such as metal putty knives and utility knives to scrape and lift the asbestos tiles. They are then placed in disposal bags. Polyethylene sheets are usually spread on the floor to help collect the material accumulated during the removal of the tiles. Working at asbestos removal jobs sometimes requires working long shifts through the evening and on weekends to complete a job.
Workers are usually paid overtime for working the extra hours, especially those who are disaster response or emergency workers. If a building is flooded or badly damaged by a tornado, hurricane, or other natural disaster, the asbestos in the flooring and in the building’s insulation and other parts of it could be a source of danger to the community. Emergency asbestos removal workers must enter the building to properly remove and dispose of harmful materials. When asbestos becomes airborne, it can endanger nearby residents.
Workers who want to enter this field of employment are usually required to have a high school diploma or GED. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a 40-hour course that is mandatory for all prospective workers who want to enter this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a hazardous materials removal worker was approximately $37,600 in 2010. The demand for these workers is expected to remain high and to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Job openings sometimes exist due to workers leaving this type of employment because of illness if they have been affected by breathing asbestos material for many years. Others retire and create job openings.
Most workers who have been harmed by asbestos in the past were not protected as they worked due to the fact that the harm of asbestos was unknown at the time. Today, with protective measures, it is generally regarded as a safe job to work with asbestos removal as long as protective gear is worn.