I am sure over the years many of us have seen a hazard warning about Asbestos. We all have been warned to stay away from its exposure. But in reality, do you know what is Asbestos? Why is there a specific medical examination known as Asbestos Medical?
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a six naturally occurring mineral. This mineral is used mainly because of its heat resistance and great adherent properties. The heat resistant nature makes it highly suitable for insulation. Whereas the adhesive property aids in making cloth, paper, cement, paints, and plastic stronger.
Although Asbestos is of great use in industry, the fibers of the mineral tend to accumulate in the lungs. When these fibers are inhaled into the lungs, they permanently get trapped causing lung irritation. Therefore, there is no way to pull out the deposits of asbestos confined within the lungs. Realizing the irreparable damage that Asbestos may cause, the government has restricted its use to less than 1% making Asbestos Medicals necessary for employees.
What is Asbestos Medicals? What is Licenced and Non-Licensed Asbestos Medical?
Asbestos Medicals is basically a health assessment that is necessary for checking the probable harmful effects of Asbestos from time to time. As of Work regulations 2012, those working with Asbestos are required to take periodic health checks.
Industries associated directly with Asbestos are required to take an Asbestos Medical check every two years for their employees. This is known as Licensed Asbestos Medical. Building Demolishers, Asbestos Removal/coating/insulating boards are supposed to have Asbestos Medical checkup after every couple of years.
Another category for Asbestos Medicals is Non Licensed. This particular health check is done after three years, for employees who might come in contact with Asbestos unknowingly. Mostly the occupations that need this are those working on garage and ceiling repair, with paint, and at construction sites.
Both of these procedures are carried out by an HSE doctor at Zosh Occupational Health. One of our health practitioners will be taking 45 minutes to complete Asbestos Medical Examination. Once the health check is complete, two copies of the reports will be made. The first one will be handed over to the employee. Meanwhile, the other one will be sent to the employer.
Exposure to Asbestos
There are two kinds of exposure to Asbestos. The first kind is direct/first-hand exposure. It is for the employees that are working in Construction, Firefighting, Electric Generation, Military equipment, Mining, Shipbuilding, or Heavy industry. These employees take regular Asbestos Medicals. For them, the employers are urged to keep a health record.
The other kind is Second-Hand Exposure. Those who ought to be a family member to any one of the employees in the above-mentioned industries might be able to inhale Asbestos fibers. These fibers are brought from the workplace to home through clothing/belongings.
Research shows that people who never worked at such places were found to have Mesothelioma because of a family member working in an Asbestos-related Industry. Therefore, if you’re a close family member, Zosh Occupational advises you to take a health surveillance test once every 3-4 years.
Adverse Effects of Asbestos
Asbestos can be inhaled and trapped within the lungs. The related diseases and signs take longer to appear (usually after twenty years) which is why Asbestos Medical is advised to be taken every few years. It can cause many adverse effects some of which are listed below:
- Lung Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Laryngeal Cancer (asbestos acting as a carcinogen)
- Mesothelioma (Malignant Cancer found within the lining of Lungs)
- Asbestosis (Scarring of lungs)
- Non-Malignant Pleural disease affecting the lining of the lungs.
- Pleuritis, pleural effusion, diffuse pleural thickening (accumulation of fluid within lungs)
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Annually about 90000 people lose their lives across the globe due to Asbestos exposure. However, Mesothelioma holds the most importance. Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer (spreading cancer) found within the inner lining of the lungs. Occupation Asbestos is the Number One cause of Mesothelioma. The worst part is that it has a poor prognosis with a life expectancy of only 12-24 months. Whereas, the good news is that it occurs in later years of life (mostly 69 years of age) and can be detected earlier with the help of Asbestos Medicals and Asbestos Health Surveillance. Some common signs are shortness of breath, chest pain, dry cough, and pleural effusion (fluid accumulation in the lungs).
Normally a person working with Asbestos would observe shortness of breath, persistent cough, loss of appetite with weight loss, clubbing of fingers and toes along with Chest Tightness. If you notice any of these signs report to the nearest medical center near you.
Asbestos Medicals At Zosh Occupational Health
Zosh has now become a trusted Occupational health center near you. The medical centers are present all across North-West England where you can easily get an appointment.
Team Zosh will be taking your bookings online and on-site. We will book you a slot at any time of your choice. Here with an HSE doctor, and proper infrastructure the test will be performed within 45 minutes. A health questionnaire, physical examination, and lung function test will be completed to form a health report.
Don’t delay your Asbestos health check any further, make a booking with us now! Remember we at Zosh take care of you so that you can work with a healthy body!