In Washington, many people earn their living in the automotive industry. Many work as a mechanic or with auto parts. Since most everyone has an automobile, this is a necessary and lucrative line of work. However, there are always dangers with this type of industry due to the possible exposure to dangerous materials. One such material that is used in automobiles – specifically brakes and clutches – is asbestos.
Since asbestos is known to be a substance that causes various conditions and illnesses that can be fatal, it is important to try and remain safe when working with it. Those who were made ill with asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer, mesothelioma and other conditions may want to find out whether they were exposed to asbestos at work, and whether their employer did all they were supposed to do to keep them safe from the substance.
EPA recommendations to prevent asbestos exposure for brake and clutch repair
Mechanics are supposed to protected when they are working on brake and clutch repair. This, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is to shield them from exposure to asbestos. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues regulations for auto repair businesses. They must be put in effect when workers are repairing, breaking down, inspecting or assembling brakes and clutches.
Although not every brake or clutch has asbestos, some do. When working with these items, it is better to be safe than sorry and adhere to the safety protocol. The dust is visible when brakes and clutches are removed. Other dust particles might not be visible to the naked eye, but can still be inhaled and cause people to get ill. Simply observing brakes and clutches does not automatically tell whether there is asbestos. The information on the packaging could say whether it is there or not. Older vehicles can be harder to determine if there is asbestos.
According to OSHA, employers must have an enclosure and vacuum system that surrounds the brake or clutch to keep workers from being exposed to asbestos. There is also a cleaning method that must be used to wet the brake assembly and catch its runoff to keep the dust from spreading. A wet wipe method is used to clean brakes and clutches and wipe the clean.
Today’s safety strategies
While these tactics are in place now, that does not mean they were in place many years ago when people who worked in the automotive industry could have been exposed to asbestos and become ill many years later. Since many asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to manifest, it is important to recognize whether there was a lack of safety or knowledge as to asbestos exposure and who is responsible for it.
Those who believe their illness or the illness suffered by a loved one is linked to asbestos from their work in the automotive industry should have help. Consulting with those who have roots in the Northwest, are part of the community and want to provide comprehensive assistance for the challenges that accompany this dangerous substance can be important to deciding what steps to take.