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Which Construction Jobs have the Highest Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
The construction industry has been one of the largest sources of asbestos exposure. Before regulations in the late 1970s limited the use of asbestos in construction material, more than 3,000 asbestos-containing products were made with asbestos.
Products like cement, paint, insulation, drywall and roofing materials all contained asbestos. Workers, who mixed, installed or removed these products likely experienced exposure if they failed to wear protective gear. At the time, most workers were completely unaware that asbestos could cause serious diseases later in life.
As a result, many former construction workers have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. These conditions are typically fatal and treatment options usually only relieve symptoms for a short period of time. The best way to fight an asbestos-related disease is to detect it early. With symptoms taking as much as 50 years to arise, former construction workers who handled asbestos should receive annual screenings to check for an asbestos-related disease.
Jobs at Risk
Although every job in the construction industry could have placed workers at risk for inhaling asbestos, certain tasks carried higher than average risks for exposure. Construction jobs that have historically been associated with high exposure rates include:
Roofers and Siding Installers – Roofing materials have been a big source for asbestos exposure because shingles and roofing felt were made with asbestos. The installation of a roof with asbestos products or the removal of one that was built with asbestos materials certainly could result in airborne asbestos fibers.
Siding installers also faced asbestos risk factors on a regular basis. During the housing boom in the 1960s and ‘70s, asbestos siding was a very popular material. Today’s construction workers should be careful when replacing old siding on a house.
Demolition Worker – Demolition work is one of the most at-risk jobs for asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers become airborne after being disturbed and demolition work is certain to damage asbestos products if they’re present.
Insulation Installer – Asbestos insulation has possibly been responsible for more exposure occurrences than any other asbestos product. The material was used in attics, basements, walls, electrical boxes and anywhere else that required insulation. Asbestos naturally possesses insulating and fireproofing capabilities, so incorporating it into insulation materials made perfect sense.
Drywall Installer – Before the 1980s, drywall was often made with asbestos. The installation or removal of drywall has always been an occupation with higher than average exposure risks. If asbestos-containing drywall needed to be cut to fit into a specific space, asbestos fibers were likely released into the air.
Abatement Worker – Anyone who performs asbestos abatement is certainly at risk for exposure. Abatement workers are called in to physically remove asbestos-containing materials. If done improperly, exposure can easily occur.
Although most workers fully understand the risks involved and take all precautions to avoid inhaling asbestos, accidents can happen. Some companies hire employees unfamiliar with asbestos abatement practices and do not protect them with equipment. However, it is illegal to let uninformed workers perform asbestos abatement and all safety precautions must be taken. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency strictly enforce safe asbestos procedures.
There are a number of additional construction jobs that place workers at risk on a daily basis, but the jobs mentioned above presented some of the highest risks. Those who performed these jobs for more than a few years naturally have a higher chance of developing an asbestos-related cancer. However, it should be noted that there is no safe level of exposure. If asbestos-containing materials are suspected, it’s best to assume asbestos is present and to take all safety precautions.
Bio: Jensen Whitmer has been writing for the Mesothelioma Center for more than three years and he has an interest in spreading awareness about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure.
Rebound in housing market runs out of steam
Published: 08 May, 2012
UK: The more optimistic outlook for the residential property market looked to have run out of steam in April as prices edged lower, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey (7 May 2012).
Across the country, 19 percent more chartered surveyors reported falls rather than rises in house prices. Alongside this, expectations for future prices reached their lowest level this year with a net balance of 17 percent more respondents predicting further drops (from -3 percent).
Demand from potential buyers was relatively flat during April as five percent more surveyors reported increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries (from +10 percent in March). Meanwhile new instructions, a good indicator of supply coming onto the housing market, was once again stable as one percent more respondents reported falls rather than rises in new homes coming up for sale. While flat, the level of supply has not seen any significant drops since July last year.
Following the upturn in activity seen towards the expiry of March’s stamp duty holiday, in April transaction levels entered negative territory for the first time since September, as six percent more respondents across the UK reported decreases rather than increases in transaction levels.
Across the UK, London was again the only part of the country to see prices rise, albeit at the slowest rate since the middle of 2011, while the West Midlands and Wales saw the most significant declines with net balance readings of -43 and -39 percent respectively.
Looking ahead, while surveyors’ predictions for future prices saw a notable dip, expectations for transaction levels once again remained positive with a net balance of +15 percent more respondents expecting sales to rise over the coming three months.
Peter Bolton King, RICS housing spokesperson, commented: “With the recent surge in activity brought on by March’s stamp duty holiday coming to an end, it is unsurprising to see that prices across much of the country are continuing to fall.
“Renewed concerns over the economy and talk of a double dip recession dominating the headlines in recent weeks may well have served to undermine consumer confidence. What’s more, the continuing lack of affordable mortgage finance is still hindering many first time buyers who cannot afford to get a foot on the property ladder.”
Chelsea bids for Battersea Power Station
Chelsea FC has lodged a bid to buy Battersea Power Station and build itself a new football stadium on the 39 acre site.
A joint bid with property development partner Almacantar has been submitted to the administrators looking to sell the site.
“We are not the only interested parties and there is no certainty that we will be successful,” the club said in a statement. “We also appreciate that we have many significant hurdles to address if we are to build a new stadium on the site, including winning the support of our fans, the CPO shareholders and local Wandsworth residents, as well as securing the approval of Wandsworth Council, the Greater London Authority and heritage authorities.”
It added: “We must also stress that making an offer for the Battersea Power Station site does not mean the club has made a definitive decision to leave Stamford Bridge.”
Chelsea’s architects and planning experts have developed a plan to preserve all the significant aspects of Battersea Power Station, including the four iconic chimneys and wash towers and the Grade II* listed west turbine hall and control room. These would be restored and retained in their original locations and provide a backdrop to the 60,000 seater stadium.
Following feedback from fans, the stadium proposed is rectangular in shape with four separate stands. Initial plans include a 15,000-all seated one-tier stand behind the south goal, likely to be the biggest one-tier stand in football.
The development would also include a ‘town centre’ with shops, housing and offices. The club is also offering to make ‘a significant contribution’ towards the proposed Northern Line tube extension.
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