Many chemical plants require workers to wear sturdy and durable materials when working under hazardous conditions. Their equipment must sustain high temperatures and voltages and be highly resistant to reactive chemicals. If dangerous acids or corrosives are spilled or need to be contained, flimsy materials can create hazardous conditions for the workers, the chemical plant and the communities around them.
Unfortunately, the same materials that factories use to keep workers safe might also put employees in danger of developing mesothelioma. Asbestos is often used for insulation purposes in industrial settings. Chemical plants are no different. The fibers can be used to create tiles that line a surface.
They can also be used in laboratory benches and desks. Heat-resistant and fireproof gloves can also be woven with asbestos, as can gaskets for hot ovens, furnaces and other machinery. Asbestos is often mixed with concrete and sprayed around pipes and wires to insulate them.
As long as asbestos remains in place and undisturbed, it poses little-to-no health risk. Asbestos is only a health concern when it is inhaled or swallowed, which is only possible when it has been broken. Outside the body, it is not a danger. When non-friable asbestos is used, it is contained and can't enter the atmosphere. Because of this, it won't enter the body and cause damage in the lungs and the mesothelium, eventually causing an asbestos-related condition such as mesothelioma.
If you work at a chemical plant, ask your employer if asbestos is used on the premises. If it is, ask what type of asbestos-containing materials are being used and where. You need to be properly informed about the location of all asbestos-containing materials so that you can protect yourself from the dangers of exposure. If the asbestos-containing materials are broken or have a chance of exposing you to the harmful fibers, your employer must to take adequate measures to protect you by providing you with a respirator, gloves and protective clothing. Otherwise, your employer might be liable for any health complications that arise due to the exposure.