Workers' compensation insurance is a protection for workers who get hurt on the job or develop illnesses related to their work. Of the hazards in the workplace, one that you should be aware of is asbestos. Asbestos exposure can take years to develop into any kind of illness, but when it does, it could be life-threatening.
Asbestos is a natural mineral, but its fibrous, durable nature makes it dangerous. When it's a dust, it can be inhaled and swallowed, potentially leading to fibrous scarring in the lungs and other areas. Both asbestosis and mesothelioma are a possible outcome of the scarring caused by these fibers getting trapped in the body.
Where is there asbestos in the workplace?
Asbestos can be found in many places including:
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Disk brake pads
- Roof coatings
- Roofing felt
- Pipeline wrapping
- Cement singles and cement products
If you work with these materials or are exposed to them on the job, then there is a potential risk of being exposed to asbestos.
Will people who are exposed to asbestos develop illnesses?
That depends on a number of factors such as how long the person was exposed, the concentration of fibers in the air, the person's breathing rate and the protective devices being worn. It can take between 10 to 40 years for the symptoms of asbestos-related conditions to appear, so if you believe that you've been exposed, make sure you're monitoring your health and report the exposure to your employer, doctor and others involved in your care. If you develop an illness, you may be able to seek compensation much later during your employment through workers' compensation or seek compensation through a lawsuit.