Personal protective equipment is widely used on the sites where workers contact with asbestos. This is a mandatory requirement for performing such works stated in appropriate legal documents.
Operational measures are not enough to provide the necessary level of protection for people working with asbestos, and personal protection is essentially important. There are many asbestos lung disease types that develop as a result of exposure, and the vast majority of such cases have occupational character.
The decision to apply specific types of PPE is made relying on the results of risk assessment, and all workers must follow this decision, wearing the selected equipment. There is no way to tolerate the refusal of worker to do this. It is a serious violation that must be resolved in accordance with industrial agreement and labor laws.
The EU Directive 89/686/EEC describes the personal protective equipment that must be used for asbestos-related works. It must be properly marked, as contact with asbestos requires specific materials and construction of the protective suits. Each PPE unit must be accompanied with detailed information in written form, in national language. The information must include manufacturer contact and address information, the description of protective function, the instructions for using, cleaning, storing and other maintenance works with the current PPE, and expiry dates for various PPE parts.
Some PPE units are made for using by different people. In this case after each appliance it must be properly cleaned and prepared for the next user. The choice of PPE items is made by a qualified expert with the respect to the risk assessment and the list of measures approved for implementation. Besides its direct purpose – protection, this equipment must fulfill two other requirements: be comfortable and easy for use. The comfort in use is essential, as it gives ability to work efficiently and use the equipment correctly.
Each employee must be properly trained for using selected PPE units. The training course must be made before workers actually begin to use PPE in practice. There are clear instructions for such training that must be performed by a qualified specialist. A worker must have an ability to consult an occupational physician in case of having any questions regarding wearing PPE.
PPE must be free for workers, while employers are obliged to provide it to personnel in full. The selected equipment must work well in combination with other equipment used on a site – safety boots, welding masks, etc.).
There are different kinds of personal protective equipment used on asbestos-containing sites. These are protective suits, respirators and other units. They will minimize the exposure, thus decrease the chances of development for different occupational disease. The whole PPE complex in each specific case is developed according to the conditions and requirements of the site. There is a specific time of wearing PPE without resting that must not be exceeded by employees. This is essentially important rule for supporting worker’s health and comfort at the work place.