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On-the-job asbestos risks: What to watch out for

You might think that asbestos injuries are a thing of the past, but businesses are still using asbestos in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States for a variety of industrial applications. Because there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, Pennsylvania workers need to be on constant alert to avoid inhaling air that contains asbestos dust whenever they are working with particular materials.

Here are the materials you need to be careful around:

-- Soundproofing and acoustic supplies: When you're building a soundproof room, or when you're handling acoustic materials, make sure you know what supplies you're dealing with. It's possible that they contain asbestos.

-- Caulk: You might be sanding old caulk, or laying fresh caulk at a construction site. Know that this material may contain asbestos and take appropriate precautions.

-- Boiler insulation: Boilers are often encased in insulation materials that contain asbestos. When working on boilers, be extremely careful when handling the installation and removal of this material.

-- Lab gloves: Certain laboratory gloves are insulated with asbestos as a fireproofing and insulation material.

-- Spackling products: Spackling products, whether they're old and on the wall or new and you're applying them, could contain asbestos.

-- Packing materials: Sometimes the materials used to pack goods contain asbestos.

Before using or working with any of the above materials, consult your supervisor for information about how to protect yourself from asbestos injuries. If your supervisor says that no asbestos danger exists, don't be so sure. Follow through by reviewing warning labels on the packages in which these supplies arrived. Finally, if you're worried that you've contracted an asbestos-related injury, a Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer can help you determine if you can seek money to pay for your medical care.

Source: FindLaw, "Where is asbestos found?," accessed March 14, 2017

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